• Health & Safety

    Studying as a Distance Learner

    If you are reading this blog then there is a good chance that you are an RRC student studying by distance/ e-learning through our Learning Centre. Distance learning is very appealing to both students and employers for various reasons such as the flexibility of the study schedule and the lower costs compared to traditional face-to-face teaching. Inevitable there are downsides. Studying by distance learning can be a rather lonely affair, people often struggle to make a start and stay motivated and sometimes course content can involve difficult or unfamiliar ideas that would be much easier to grasp in a room full of like-minded students with a tutor to help. So…

  • Health & Safety

    “Hey! Let’s be Careful Out There”

    As a health and safety tutor I have to introduce myself to rooms full of students all the time. I always start by telling them that I used to work as a production supervisor in an industrial bakery near Sheffield making tea cakes, white baps and hot cross buns for Marks and Spencer’s. And then I confess that as a production supervisor I had no particular interest in health and safety. I knew that it was one of my responsibilities, because it said so in my job description, and I did do some health and safety related activities routinely; such as safety inspections. But I was not particularly interested in…

  • Health & Safety

    Bad Daisy! Risks Associated with Cattle

    I was sitting in a neighbour’s kitchen recently with a group of folks who were talking about beating the bounds. This is an old tradition that goes back to medieval times where people walk around a parish boundary. The organiser was narrating the route and talking about possible hazards along the way and what he wanted done about them. When he got to one particular section he mentioned that he was worried about cows being in the field. He did not want dogs in with the cattle so proposed that the walkers with dogs should take an alternative route (which does not follow the boundary) to avoid agitating the cattle.…

  • Health & Safety

    Pure as The Driven Snow – The Risks from Flour

    In my mid-twenties I worked as a production supervisor in a bakery near Sheffield. The production line I was responsible for produced tea cakes, white baps and hot cross buns for Marks and Spencer (other retailers of perfectly fine ‘morning goods’ are available). We made a lot of hot cross buns. And by a lot I mean we produced all of the hot cross buns for every M&S store in the UK. The bakery products were all made using white flour. I like flour because I like the things that you can make with it. I like bread, I like cakes and I really like biscuits (except custard creams but…

  • Health & Safety

    Poor Fire Safety is Having a Devastating Impact Across the Middle East

    Over the last year we have seen numerous devastating fires across the Middle East regions. From December’s hospital fire in Saudi Arabia and the July hotel fire in Dubai, to the re-occurring fires in ‘labour camps’, with the latest one being reported as recently as September, in Jidhafs, Bahrain. So, what can be done to prevent incidents like these happening again? Fire prevention is very simple and standards could easily be improved by having the commitment and determination to establish a system and enforce all the relevant precautions. We recently launched our new Fire Safety Consultancy, which assesses fire risks and advises on the next steps to make premises safe.…

  • Health & Safety

    The Risks in a Lead Workshop

    Outside of health and safety, I have an interest in old buildings and their conservation. A couple of years ago, on a field visit as part of a course I was doing, I went on a tour of the stained glass conservation workshops at Salisbury Cathedral. Here they repair and refabricate stained glass panels for the historic windows in the cathedral and for other churches in the surrounding area. The coloured glass pieces are held together by lead strips, cast, extruded, cut, bent and soldered together by a small team of craftsmen. As I was reasonably familiar with the health effects of lead from a theoretical and control point of…

  • Health & Safety

    Health and Safety is Common Sense Self-Protection

    I recently came across this on an H&S checklist issued to volunteers at an event and it started me thinking about the phase ‘common sense’, its origins, definition, uses and, of course, its application to health and safety. A search of the HSE website (www.hse.gov.uk) revealed ‘Common Sense Common Safety’ (5). In this, Lord Young opines ‘Above all it means applying common sense not just to compensation but to everyday decisions once again’ and ‘My report highlights the role that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities have in promoting a common sense approach to health and safety’. The Prime Minister of the day, David Cameron, claims that…

  • Health & Safety

    Changing a Culture: Shifting Attitudes to Health and Safety in The Middle East

    We often wonder why we have such poor occupational health and safety standards in the Middle East compared to other areas of the world. But if you look around you, you’ll find the answer. Safety is no different to other facets of living in the Middle East – we suffer from a culture that has long been dependent on others to develop and implement systems and technology. Even the water we drink is imported! What appears to matter most to us is how easily we can purchase things that are ready-made, rather than go through the process of creating them ourselves. For example: We have budgets, but we mainly use…

  • Health & Safety

    The Sun Has Arrived and It Is Great For Us, Isn’t It?

    We wait for them during the entire winter and most of spring, but finally they have arrived, those nice, warm sunny days. They get us thinking about holidays and sunbathing; they boost our moral and make us feel happier. This is the time of the year where we start to envy those working outdoors such as construction workers, gardeners and postmen…  We think they’re lucky because they get to enjoy all those benefits the sun brings all day long, but are they? Overexposure, as well as regular and prolonged exposure, to the sun can cause sunburns, skin ageing, eye damage and skin cancer. It may also affect the immune system.…