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News

Thank you to French people

We have had a number of reasons to work in France in recent years and we have always thought that the French people are terrific. They have always been open, friendly and kind.

We have just returned from 2 days of business meetings in Paris and the opinions have not just been confirmed, they have been massively magnified.

Staff in cafes and restaurants went out of their way to be helpful and friendly. Brilliant service and the food…..Mmmm – as ever. People we met in business could not do enough for us and the best bit; My wallet fell out of my coat pocket whilst being dropped off at the airport, by taxi. I did not realise until it had driven off. The wallet contained just about everything I need to get on with my life and I was seriously worried. We spoke to another driver, who was able to track down the taxi by a serial number on my receipt and make contact with him via the licensing and radio control systems. The original driver had finished for the day and was home by the time he got the message but he came back to the airport right away.  The wallet was there on the back seat, untouched and totally in order. He was delighted to have helped us, as was the other driver.

 

So, a massive “merci” to the French. We are impressed!!!

Re-cycling to work. Time to get on your bike!

As many of you will know, health, safety and welfare are a big part, though by no means the only part of the ‘joined-up’ approach to well thought out company management. There is also the matter of equality and environmental management.

Here is a great idea which ties together several important elements, which will be great for the environment and the health of your work-team.

You may well have thought of encouraging cycling, but have you thought of re-cycling cycles as a part of that strategy. Far better to re-use than throw away older cycles and some of them are really cool.

Some councils here are providing bikes for hire (‘Boris-bikes) and many are providing safe storage near to commercial areas, bike-hubs , cycle-ways and the like. The government is also promoting tax free benefits of cycling to work. ( Government Cycle to Work Scheme )

To pick up again on the re-cycling of cycles, you might want to have a look at this great idea which is being pioneered where Geoff Williams is seeking out old bikes, renovating them and selling them at what seems like brilliant prices for bikes which are virtually restored to new conditions. Example of renovated (folding) bike

Remember that we also offer environmental management as a training option for you. For more details click this link to training page

Kiwi Cube event at Canary Wharf

We are delighted that despite all that the February, winter weather could throw at the Kiwi Cube, promotional event last week, it was obviously a great success.

Our involvement was to work directly with DesignScene Limited, who were the event production team, who in turn were working with Ogilvy Action ( the brand activation arm of Ogilvy & Mather UK), who commissioned the event on the behalf of their client, Kiwi Care.

Our task was to devise and to write up all of the safety management systems for this very high profile promotion, which took place right in the heart of Canary Wharf, London, at the exit from the rail station.

Special considerations had to be made to ensure that the tone of the area was maintained whilst keeping everyone safe. This aspect does not look complicated when you view the video but key priorities were pedestrian safety, fire safety, protecting people from the effects of the weather and of course protecting against environmental incidents (spillages from generators etc).

As you can see, all went well and this rather quirky promotion appeared to be a hit with passers-by.

 

The photo at the top of this item is that of a tin straight from our cupboard. Parade Gloss. Can’t beat it!

Coffee Shops – a refreshing change

Anyone who knows us will also know that we are great fans of the coffee shop. Politics, tax and globalism aside, we still remain fans. This is despite making great use of our expresso machine. It is the getting out which completes the experience.

I came across this article today, so with our love of coffee shops in mind, and our sincere belief that reducing stress and improving quality of life, including in the workplace, I thought I would share some of the advantages offered by Wesley Verhove at Lifehacker with you. Wesley talks about ‘the day’ in the coffee shop. Mmmm, not so sure about that but ‘everyone to their own’. Now, I know that this idea cannot work for everyone but for those who can make use of it, great! For those who can’t, what ideas can you come up with to help motivate, refresh and inspire?

The following comments have been copied from his blog, which also includes the essential information that these are occasional trips, not I would stress, a permanent arrangement (though I can see some advantages).

Here are some of his thoughts. They don’t have to be taken literally and they don’t apply to every workplace. The interesting outcomes should be about creating new and interesting ways to improve morale, creativity and freshness to the routine of work.

A change of environment stimulates creativity. Even in the most awesome of offices we can fall into a routine, and a routine is the enemy of creativity. Changing your environment, even just for a day, brings new types of input and stimulation, which in turn stimulates creativity and inspiration.

Fewer distractions. It sounds counter-intuitive, but working from a bustling coffee shop can be less distracting than working from a quiet office. Being surrounded by awesome team and officemates means being interrupted for water cooler chats and work questions. Being interrupted kills productivity. The coffee shop environment combines the benefit of anonymity with the dull buzz of exciting activity. Unlike working at home, with the ever-present black hole of solitude and procrastination, a coffee shop provides the opportunity of human interaction, on your terms.

Community and meeting new people. Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective at existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me. Today alone I met a top Skillshare teacher whose class I will now take, a sleep consultant, a publicist who offered to help with a project, and a wine consultant who recommended some bars.

To make the best out of your coffee shop days, keep a few things in mind:

Rotate coffee shops. Rather than going to the same coffee shop every time, switch it up, and avoid the stifling feeling of routine you were trying to avoid in the first place.

Buy something. Don’t be a cheapskate nursing that one coffee throughout the day. Buy some stuff throughout the day, and tip well. Coffee shop workers are awesome, and they’ll be awesome to you if you are a good customer. That hidden power plug will be revealed, an extra free refill will be given, an introduction will be made.

Placement. Don’t sit near the door or the register, if you can avoid it. Temperature differences and high traffic don’t help you to focus.

Power up. Come with a full charge. I like to not bring a power cord, unlike most folks, because I get 6 hours out of my laptop battery, and it forces me to take a break and work with focus because I will run out eventually.

 

Wesley Verhoeve is the founder of Family Records and GNTLMN.com. He writes about the intersection of music, tech, and innovation, as well as modern marketing, product strategy, and great customer experiences across different industries.

Now delivering I.O.S.H. Managing Safely Training

We are delighted to announce that TSO is now licenced to deliver The IOSH, Managing Safely course.


This is a natural progression for us, having been delivering a wide selection of courses which are mainly directed at the workforce for some years now

We believe that this course will prove to be a very popular progression to any workplace learning but especially to managers and supervisors in the events industry, where there is little availability of specialist events trainers who deliver this qualification.

What is it?

Well, it is a training course designed especially for managers to help them to understand and to comply with the requirements and duties of care which are thrust upon them in this potentially delicate role.
The course is designed in a structured way, which guides students gradually through the key areas of responsibility so that they emerge with a good level of knowledge to enable them to tackle the practical and administrative requirements put upon them.

This sounds difficult and boring. Is this the case?

Certainly not. This is not a chalk-and-talk or ‘death-by-powerpoint’ type of a course. Students learn as adults, with some quirky, fun elements and lots of opportunity to join in, in a non-threatenting way.

Who will this training benefit?

The simple answer is, anyone in the workplace but it has been designed for anyone with managerial or team leadership responsibilities.

How long is the course?

The course is delivered with 25 hours student/trainer contact time. Contact time can be arranged to be flexible to help to meet the demands of students.

How is the student assessed?

There is a small examination at the end of the course, which is designed for the student to demonstrate that they have understood the course. Then there is a small written project of some work-place safety management systems. These are not major tasks but they are there to demonstrate that the student can apply their learning.

What is IOSH?

IOSH stands for the INSTITUTE OF OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH.

It is the biggest health and safety membership organisation in the world. They are committed to creating a world of work which is safe, healthy and sustainable.
They are the first European safety body to be awarded NGO status by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Some other facts. They have:-

• More than 40,000 members in 99 countries (TSO directors are members)

• Founded in 1945; a registered charity since 1962

I am interested in finding out more

 

If you need to know anything at all or if you would like to discuss arranging some training, please contact us via telephone, email or this web site.

Successful tendering tips

Congratulations on a job well done

We have noticed in recent times, just how health, safety, welfare, equality and environmental management awareness and action has improved for workplaces and with events management (we will shorten this to HSW for the rest of this blog). Everyone concerned should give themselves a ‘pat on the back’ for work well done.
So what more advice can we give to help make this  really essential topic develop for those who have started to process or happen, for those who have yet to make sufficient progress?

Do you include time and budgets for HSW?

Many organisations now ‘get’ the need for a safe workplace and environment but they don’t yet ‘get’ the need for sufficient time, budgets and resources and the need to be open about this ‘hidden’ overhead, especially if it is part of a competitive contracted service. A ‘safe’ job, well done will always remain low profile in this respect. People will always see how good or how bad the commercial product is but often they will may not see and often may take for granted how safely produced it was.  For the ‘person with the purse’, it may from time to time appear to be difficult to justify the costs of planning, resources and time invested in this process. Compare this with the work which goes wrong; the fire, the fall, the spillage and so-on. What is the financial cost? Cost of loss of reputation? Cost of litigation and so-on? With hind-sight, H.S.W. planning is really easy to justify.

How can you make your tender bid more likely to succeed?

Many organisations are fearful, particularly when tendering for work that the extra costs for HSW (etc) will make them less competitive. Our view is of course, that it makes them more competitive. Our view is that a supplier who cares for their clients, for the workforce, for the environment, for people and for quality, is more likely to be hired by a caring customer, who won’t allow unsafe activity to get in the way of profits and reputation.

How important is HSW to your tender?

Health and Safety and how it is to be managed should be a big part of any tendering exercise.  It is required by law for the work to be undertaken so why would anyone not include it in their tender submission? You should always be expected to demonstrate in a tender exercise that you have the competence and capacity to deliver the project while meeting your legal obligations and protecting the reputations of both yourselves and your potential clients. You should say so, loudly and clearly in terms of exactly how you will do this, why you are doing it and describe the advantages to the client.

What now?

We at TSO have the experience and knowledge to help with fulfilling this element of your  tendering process.  We can also help you to develop sound safety management systems and deliver staff training prior to taking on any newly tendered for projects.

 

For an informal discussion about how we might be able to help, you can either email us or ring us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Top Christmas Tree Safety Tips

It can take less than 1 minute from the point of start of a Christmas tree fire for a whole room to become an inferno and about a further 10 minutes for a whole house to be burning.

Here is that first minute courtesy of City of Roseville, Minnesota, – scary!

I think that by now, most people know or have heard of all of the usual Christmas Tree safety advice. But is there any problem in keeping them at the front of our minds? 

Top Christmas tree fire safety tips

  1. Keep away from heat source and especially candles – on or near to your tree.
  2. Take care with your tree electrics -
    Frayed wires
    Damaged or worn cable insulation
    Damaged plugs
    Overwound or kinked wires (build up heat due to electrical resistance)
    Don’t overload your cable extension  with too many appliances
    Don’t leave your tree unattended with lights left on
    If you use a water container to help to keep the tree moist, take care to keep wires well out of the way
  3. Real trees will ignite and burn more quickly as they dry out, so more care is needed 
  4.  If you have a real tree, don’t try to use it, or branches as fuel in a wood burning stove

How to best get rid of (natural) Christmas trees

Many UK councils have a re-cycling service after Christmas for disposing of trees and some councils (such as ours) actually generate income from bio-waste. So if yours isn’t a planted/growing tree, you might want to look up how to best get rid of the tree when the time comes.

 Relax and stay safe. You deserve it.

How do you select a health and safety advisor?

Now published in The Event Industry magazine, 30th November 2012, 

Selecting the right advisor; This is a real dilemma for anyone who needs to hire in expert support. If you are not an expert, if you don’t have the knowledge, then how do you select the right person?

This is very much like any common sense problem. If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answer.

Please, please, do not go on cost alone. We have all heard the expression, if it seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

It is likely that we have all made this mistake in some way in the past. Sometimes we get away with it but often and very bitterly, we also often regret it. Whether it is the choice of our car, choice of accountant, restaurant or any service or goods. Afterwards we feel stupid, bitter, cheated and resentful, even though we did not pay much. We trusted the fact that anyone offering a service must be able to deliver it at a suitable level. Often we are left with a bigger problem than we started with.

With health and safety, you might be lucky and not encounter any problems. Nobody gets hurt and you don’t come to the attention of enforcement people. On the other hand, someone might get hurt, you might get sued, you might be prosecuted and you might seriously damage your company reputation. In this business we may be talking in terms of the cost of life or livelihood.

However, if you can get a bargain, and that means a great service for a suitable fee, then go for it.

So what questions should you ask? Try asking these questions to your prospective advisor:-

*     Are you a member of an accreditation scheme such as IOSH, NEBOSH, CIEH (and others)? These are all UK organisations, so if you are in another country, you will probably have your own national equivalent. To be a health and safety advisor, as with many professions, some people have no, or little competence. To be an accredited health and safety practitioner, recognised by one of our (UK) national accrediting organisations, you must have certain minimum levels of qualification, you must have been in practise for a specified minimum period and you must be engaged in a programme of monitored continual professional development. In short, you are scrutinised.

*     What qualifications do you have, and are they relevant? When did you qualify and what do you do to keep your knowledge up to date? A good advisor should be continually researching, keeping their knowledge up to date and their skills sharp. An organisation such as NEBOSH, IOSH or CIEH or your trade body will advise you (the client) what minimum levels of qualification are needed for the type of service you need. Any practitioner who is also an accredited trainer, delivering recognised qualifications is also likely to provide a great level of service.

*     Are you a member of a trade body? To be a member of a recognised trade body, once again, on must demonstrate competence in that field – knowledge and experience.

*     Can you produce relevant insurances? In this case, we would expect to see professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance, employee insurance (for limited companies), and legal insurance. Where work involves foreign travel, relevant travel insurances (not just the usual holiday cover).

*     In the case of registered companies, have a look at Companies House (UK suppliers) to ensure that they fulfilling their legal requirements. A free search can reveal basic essential information.

*     Can you provide examples of your previous services, where, when  and who for? How open are they with their work history? Do they make general claims or do they openly make it known what they have done, where and for who? By this, you have information you can check and you can relate to what skills might be needed?

 

Do you need advice or service?  If you have any questions, please contact us and we will try to help.

Another great example of sense prevailing – this time; relaxing rules re no smoking signs

From Monday 1 October 2012 the requirements for no-smoking signs under the smoke-free laws relaxed in England and Wales to ease some of the regulatory burdens on businesses.

This now means that at least one sign, which must be legible and compliant with signage laws, is required for each enclosed premise or vehicle. There are no rules relating to size, location or other factors, as previous and more signs can be displayed if businesses feel it necessary. 

This relaxation has also come about because of the (general) popularity, support for and widespread awareness of the no smoking laws.

We view this as a victory for good sense. It is a system which both recognises the need for some form of regulation but reduces the burdens made upon employers and businesses.

 

We at TSO are here to help you with any advice you might need on any health, safety or welfare matter, including signage (or not to have signage) as the case may be to best effect.

Superdrug’s 2012 Charity Ball – Good luck from the TSO team

Good luck to DesignScene (production), CL Events (organisers) and the Superdrug 2012 charity ball at the Battersea Park, Evolution event centre next week. It looks like a really exciting event with a brilliant original concept (can’t say too much!!).

 

It was an absolute pleasure in working with you to produce your event safety management plans and supporting safety management document.

Video – last of 2012 Gymkhana Grid Series for Monster Events

With some sadness, we have now completed our services in providing health and safety support for this year’s Monster Events, Gymkhana Grid series., this time at Santa Pod Raceway. This was an exciting weekend as it featured a press day, a day of spectacular demonstration drives using drift style, stunts and road trucks, plus of course, the final of the European Gymkhana Grid competition.

 

The great  news is that our work for Monster Events continues over the winter in a number of different ways and our next port of call with them is at Monaco, later in the month.

In the meantime, we look forward to working on the 2013 series of Gymkhana Grid events, which promise to be bigger and even more sensational in even more locations across Europe.

Above is a link to a series of short clips from Santa Pod. The night-time sequence features the world famous Ken Block.

 

The video titles might seem a little unusual for this type of video – that is because it is to be used for a training session, purely as a scene setting aid for production management students to relate to at one of our courses. They will then have to come up with plans to prevent and to respond to fictional problems which will be set before them. Problems incidentally, which had already been thought out and had been planned around, by ourselves, in advance of this event.