• Danger Asbestos Hazard Yellow sign - Field in the background
    Health & Safety

    Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2019

    Global Asbestos Awareness week, (1st – 7th April), was established to raise awareness surrounding the illnesses and consequential deaths that asbestos causes. Although it has been banned in the U.K. since 1999, there are over 1.5 million buildings in the UK that may contain asbestos (UKATA, 2019). Buildings erected pre-1999 can have dormant asbestos within their foundations, and can be accidentally disturbed during renovations or repairs. Unfortunately, asbestos is still legal in many countries around the world. What is Asbestos? Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres. If you breathe in these fibres, they can damage your lungs (British Lung Foundation, 2019). Asbestos is…

  • 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…

  • People in hard hats on construction site
    Health & Safety

    What Is a Permit to Work?

    Permission to speak, sir? That was it, wasn’t it – Corporal Jones’ usual request whenever he felt he had something important to say to Captain Mainwaring. I’m showing my age again with these ancient references – for the benefit of younger readers, I’m referring to the excellent 1970s BBC comedy Dad’s Army. Anyway, the point is that Jones always sought permission to proceed in circumstances where something important needed to be done – important in those World War II days of the Home Guard because there was some risk associated with getting it wrong.