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  • FM Ireland will be held on the 6-7 March 2018
  • #FMIreland_Expo

 The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) is supporting Ireland’s major trade event for industry professionals working in facilities management, health and safety, security, operations and buildings maintenance. FM Ireland is taking place on March 6th and 7th at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. BIFM has collaborated with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland to create a stream of quality CPD seminars covering a range of topics from FM procurement best practice, maintenance strategy to emerging trends in FM and workplace.

Speaking about the event, Pat Gaughan, Chair of BIFM Ireland says, “FM Ireland is a fixture in the business calendar and offers a one-stop shop to see the latest products from a range of exhibitors, to network with a large number of people in the sector as well as continue to develop professionally by attending the seminars and workshops. BIFM Ireland is passionate about supporting the advancement of the FM profession and as well as supporting FM Ireland we run a full calendar of seminars to enable FM professionals in Ireland to access the latest trends and best practice. I encourage you to register for the event and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible on the BIFM Ireland stand G11 where you will be able to hear about our plans for the future.”

FSi has developed an easy to use Product Selector App. The App is easily downloaded from either Google Play Store or the Apple Store. The FSi Product Selector App provided information to which type of FSi Systems may be required to be installed depending on the application requirement. The process is a few simple questions from drop down menus which lead to either a FSi product recommendation and in some cases a typical Auto-CAD pdf details showing the requirements. It has been developed to aid in the correct selection of FSi Systems for typical firestopping requirements and will offer a clear, easy insight into the complexity of firestopping product selection and specification. FSi also have extended our BIM offering to include full NBS product selection on RIBA NBS Plus. FSi continue to extend the scope of certification to the highest industry standards to enable systems to offer solutions to complex conditions in the industry with FSi product Selector App being just one of the systems being constantly developed.

To find out more visit us at FM Ireland 2018 STAND E21 or visit www.fsiltd.com or call +44 (0) 1530 515130.To find out more visit www.fsiltd.com or call +44 (0) 1530 515130.

 

Advancements in medicine and overall improvement in quality of lifestyle has increased life expectancy, which has subsequently increased the number of older workers. The Office for National Statistics (ONS, 2013) predicts that by 2020 over a third of the workforce will be aged over 50.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA, 2018) recently released their 2017 statistics for the number of fatal accidents suffered by employees whilst at work in the Republic of Ireland. Unfortunately there were 47 fatalities in 2017 – 1 more than compared to the results in 2016. Shockingly, nearly 30% of these fatalities were suffered by employees aged over 65. Some other key statistics include:

  • Highest number of work related fatalities came from the agriculture sector.
  • Most number of accidents were due to contact with vehicles, whilst falls from a height was the next most common cause.
  • Dublin, Cork and Mayo were the counties with the highest number of fatalities in 2017.

These statistics highlight the dangers suffered by workers over the age of 60 within the agriculture sector, many of them were in fact working alone at the time of the accident. Martin O’Halloran, HSA Chief Executive, also highlighted the importance of raising awareness of lone working so that more measures can be put in place to protect their safety (HSA, 2018)....Read More

Between October to January the spreading of organic manure, like slurry, is prohibited within Irish farms. This period of time the risk of nutrient leaching is at its highest with little or no plant growth. This closed period will also help protect water courses from pollution (Daera-NI, 2017).

Midnight of January 31st marks the end of this closed period and farmers are able to spread fertilisers and manure across their land. However, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is reminding farmers of the dangers of slurry and the key safety tips to consider. So what is slurry and why is it one of the main causes of fatalities within the agriculture/farming industry?

Slurry in effect is animal manure that’s mixed with water, which acts as a great natural fertiliser for crops. Animal waste is collected over the winter period and stored in slurry tanks. Farmers will need to break down and mix the slurry in order to be used on their land. This mixing of slurry causes dangerous gases to be released quickly, including Hydrogen Sulphide, which at high concentrations will block your sense of smell, disorientation, affect the nervous system and kill you instantly as the gas replaces the air in the lungs (BBC, 2014).

Over recent years there were several cases of fatalities within farms due to slurry mixing, including the deaths of three members of the same family after they were all overcome by the slurry fumes – the worst farming tragedy in NI for 20 years (BBC, 2013). Along with the above, there were also some cases of farmers losing consciousness and falling into the slurry pit, where they drowned….Read More

Many factors affect the safety of a Lone Worker on a day to day. Slips, trips or falls are among the highest in non-fatal injuries suffered by employees while working alone without any direct supervision. There can also be times when a lone worker find themselves being targeted for threats of verbal and physical abuse or other types of violent crimes.

In such situations, it’s important to stay calm and use appropriate measures to make sure that you do not aggravate the person who’s threatening to cause harm. The use of an obvious panic alarm with a loud noise could potentially worsen the situation and likely to cause even more harm. This is why our Bluetooth Button accessory would be ideal in such situations because you can raise a silent alarm by a simple press of the button. The Bluetooth Button can be worn discreetly in a number of different ways i.e. a watch, belt clip and pendant. This helps the user to raise an alarm without causing any suspicion and remain calm knowing that they have back up support.

When an alarm is raised using our Bluetooth Button (or our other lone working solutions like the MicroGuardSmartphone App, or a standard mobile phone) our fully trained Controllers in the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) will listen into the conversation quietly for a set period of time to gauge the type of situation the user is in. If our Controllers believe that the situation could escalate because of their vocal intervention, then they would silently go about contacting the emergency services in order to provide immediate assistance to the user.

In situations like this it’s important for our Controllers to know all the information about the user like their name, age, gender, medical conditions, type of environment they work in etc. This helps our Controllers provide a faster response in the event of an emergency or accident. Customers can also set up bespoke escalation procedures or duress phrases like “check the purple folder” which directly means that they need emergency support. Thanks to this pre-set escalation information, our Controllers would know to contact the emergency services when they hear that word or phrase thus providing discrete assistance without putting the user in any further harm.

Disengaging or removing yourself from a hostile situation should always be the number one priority. However having an option of raising an alarm discreetly would provide assurance and peace of mind to all lone workers if they ever face such a situation.

The internet has accelerated the advancements in wearable technology in the last few years and nowadays we see them everywhere in the form of smartwatches, jewellery, glasses and in most recent cases virtual reality (VR) headsets. In a nutshell, wearable technology is any electronic device that can be worn and connected to the internet or your smartphone using Bluetooth connectivity.

Forecasts by Statista suggests that the global market value for wearable technology will cross £4 billion by 2018. Major companies like Apple, Samsung and Google all have their own versions of wearable technology readily available, along with a lot of investment & research into a wide range of wearable products.

There are many advantages of using wearable technology on a day to day basis and we highlight some of the key ones below:

  1. Convenience: Calls, emails, texts and pretty much any other alerts can now be dealt with the use of a wearable technology, without even getting your smartphone out of your pocket.
  2. Fitness tracking: Brands like Fitbit and Garmin have integrated fitness trackers that monitors an individual’s each step, heart rate, temperature etc, and compiles multiple data to provide custom fitness solutions.
  3. Internet of Things (IOT): TV, radio, speakers, lights and even heating in a home can now be controlled with the help of wearable technology which connects all these devices together through the internet.
  4. Health and safety: Wearable technology can now be used to raise an SOS alarm quickly and discreetly. Products like the Bluetooth button are capable of raising an alarm with a simple press of a button in the event of an accident or injury. Ideal for people that work on their own for long periods.

Recent news articles have highlighted the Health and safety failings by a number of different companies over the past couple of months. Companies are facing hefty fines and prosecutions after failing to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees or even the general public. It’s an employer’s duty to assess the risk, provide information about this risk and also train their employees on how to deal with these risks.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), over £30 million worth of fines were issued in 2016 across the UK and half was within the Manufacturing industry. Some of the most fatal injuries within this industry were caused due to falling from heights. Meanwhile the most non-fatal Injuries were caused by slip, trips or falls.

New guidelines issued in early 2016 suggests that large companies could face over £20 million in fines for the most serious of health and safety offences. These have been increased to create awareness for organisations and to ensure that they take a serious approach to setting up safety measures, thus protecting all their staff members, especially the more vulnerable Lone Workers.

Implementing the following Health and safety measures would help organisations to be compliant with the regulations and maintain their duty of care needs to their employees:

Training: It’s the duty of the employer to provide adequate training to all their employees that helps them to successfully take on their day to day tasks. This could be the safe use of heavy machinery, manual handling, safely working from heights, the use of appropriate PPE etc.

Control Hazards: There should be effective procedures in place to eliminate any potential hazards that could harm someone and also take the practical steps to isolate it from all staff members.

Incident Reporting Log: Employers should consider setting up an Incident report Log that registers all accidents or injuries including accidents that did not harm anyone. This log will help to control the hazards and be on top of all potential future hazards.

Emergency: There should be set procedures in place for effective emergency assistance and communication between staff if they are working alone. Employers should also consider regular supervision or issue personal safety alarms to lone workers so that they can raise an alarm if they suffer an accident or injury whilst working alone.

In summary, proactive approach towards maintaining a credible health and safety action plan is something every organisation should consider. The cost of being compliant with the HSE is a lot more cheaper than the fine itself, especially now that the new guideline is set in place. Along with heavy penalties and prosecutions, an organisations reputation could also be affected due to failings in Health and Safety regulations.

There’s no official definition of a night shift worker in law. However the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that a night shift worker is someone who works outside of standard daytime hours and commonly for a period of between 7pm – 7am. In certain industries it’s a necessity to provide a service 24 hours of the day and some examples of this would be medical, police and security, which also includes our very own Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), where our Controllers are on hand to provide assistance 24/7.

One of the main health concerns for a night shift worker is fatigue. Our body clocks are naturally tuned to be more proactive in the day time and a lack of sleep would increase the cause of fatigue, which could lead to accidents while at work.

It’s important for organisations to provide adequate care and wellbeing for their Night shift workers, so that they can carry out their duties without being affected by fatigue. The HSE also covers some of the guidelines below:

Workload – if the workload is more than that can be handled then the shift workers are more likely to be affected by fatigue and therefore suffer a reduction in productivity. Organisations should consider scheduling any demanding work for shift workers when they are more alert i.e. early into a shift. It would also be beneficial to workers if there’s a variety of tasks that requires different mental and physical demands.

Shift Pattern – Rotating shift pattern helps to reduce the number of night shifts a particular worker has to do. Implementing a forward shift rotation, where the worker progresses from morning to afternoon to night shifts in a clockwise direction, helps their body clock to slowly adapt thus reducing sleep loss and fatigue.

Rest – The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) states that you need to provide at least 11 hours rest period between shifts so that workers can commute, sleep, eat meals and participate in domestic or social activities.

Physical Environment – It’s important to provide the appropriate facilities for shift worker to carry out their work. For instance; the heating should be adjustable since there could be a drop in temperature during the night.

Lone Working – Just like regular day time workers, night shift workers may also find themselves working alone. Therefore it’s important to invest in a Lone Worker solution like the MicroGuard from Guardian24, which would help them to raise an alarm with a press of the button if they are subjected to an attack, assault or accident.

30/06/2017 was the 80th anniversary of the world’s oldest emergency service, 999, launched by BT back in 1937. Around a 1000 calls were made within the first week of the launch. Today, BT advisors deal with over 560,000 calls a week and around 97% of those calls are answered within 5 seconds (BT, 2017). Calls are handled by 700+ operators in multiple operator assistance centres (OAC’s) that are spread around the UK.

Hoax or non-emergency calls towards the 999 service has always been a major issue since its launch, and in its history, there have been many public information campaigns in the UK to educate people on the right use of it. According to a recent article by the BBC, “emergency services often release details of time-wasting calls they receive in a bid to urge people to think twice before calling 999”.

Over the past 80 years, they have received some remarkable non-emergency calls through the 999 service and we have highlighted some of the worst offenders below:

– A man rang 999 because his wife wouldn’t give him the remote

– One woman called 999 to complain that the sprinkles on her ice cream were unevenly spread

– When asked ‘Do you need fire, ambulance or police’, a young caller replied ‘Mountain rescue’, because they couldn’t get down from the top bunk…Read More

It is evident that certain occupations can be more dangerous than others due to the nature of work that is carried out. However, one that consistently tops the list of hazardous industries is farming. It is becoming increasingly alarming that farmers are exposed to high levels of danger and more inclined to suffer fatal injuries and even a loss of life whist working on their farms.

From the latest Health and Safety Executive statistics (HSE) worrying figures can be drawn from the farming safety record. Last year, 27 people lost their lives following a work place accident on a farm.

One story that has raised awareness of the dangers of farming occurred two days before Christmas 2016.  Two men aged 19 and 35 died in a slurry tank on a farm in Leicestershire. Despite the best efforts of fire crews to cut the men free, the two farm workers sadly lost their lives. Other unfortunate deaths caused by an agricultural occupation included Somerset farmer, Derek Mead, who was crushed by his own vehicle after it was reportedly switched on in motion by his dog. These deaths were just a few out of more than 300 on British farms over the past decade.

Statistically, farms are the most dangerous places to work in the UK. Construction work is five times safer than farm work (per year there are on average two deaths per 100,000 in construction, compared to 10 per 100,000 in farming). “All of the deaths we see are needless,” said Rick Brunt, head of vulnerable workers, agriculture, waste and recycling at the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)…Read More