Monday, July 2, 2012

Latest health and safety guidance, training and education for construction professionals all under one roof at the IOSH annual conference and exhibition 2012

The UK can be proud of a comparatively impressive reputation in construction site safety. The Eurostat website reports that the fatal injury rate in Great Britain is consistently one of the lowest in Europe . The HSE has echoed this positive message in their latest construction industry report which shows a general decline in recent years in major injuries, fatal injuries and reported injuries to members of the public; that is a general decline which has become more static in the past three years. The IOSH annual conference and exhibition taking place at Manchester Central 06-07 March 2012, will provide construction professionals with many of the tools required to remain abreast of the ever evolving occupational health and safety sector while learning about ways to increase cost efficiency and best practice.

Despite this encouraging trend, there are still many examples in the news of the cost to industry that health and safety breaches cause. For example, a Yorkshire construction firm was fined £3,500 with costs of £900 after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act when an employee suffered serious injury in a fall from height accident after falling four and a half metres from a makeshift platform supported by a fork attachment added to a tractor . Many personal injury claim companies market themselves with messages of ‘deadly statistics’ such as “construction workers are six times more likely to be killed at work in construction accidents than any other type of employee” from the website. More high profile cases have included the recent call from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson for a ‘comprehensive programme of work’ to reduce cyclist deaths in London as a direct response to the frequency of cyclist accidents which involve construction related vehicles .

The IOSH conference programme will feature over 60 expert speakers, more than 30 sessions on hot industry topics, and 15 hours of lively discussions, vital legal updates, in-depth analysis, practical workshops and real-life case studies. Hot topics include the Löfstedt Review, the ongoing impact of Lord Young’s health and safety review, strategies for engaging the workforce in behavioural safety improvement, and health and safety from the perspective of the board.

On that latter topic, the IOSH conference will host an interview panel with the session title ‘Leading from the top – senior directors’ perspectives on putting health and safety on the board agenda. Senior directors from a range of industries will be interviewed including Ian Dormer, MD of Rosh Engineering Ltd and Graham Dalton, Chief Executive of Highways Agency.

HSE’s Ian Strudley (HM Principle Inspector, Head of Health Risk Management Unit, Construction Division) is lined up to deliver a practical workshop with Mark Rimmer, Operations Manager at ISG Pearce. They will be focusing on developing strategies to manage occupational health risk in a way which engages the workforce. This will include tips for successful communication, making safety fun and making results measurable. There will also be a focus on building a strategy with case study examples of proactive interventions on the construction industry and how they’ve been received by employees.

Key speakers include Professor Ragnar Löfstedt on the outcomes of the Löfstedt Review which aims to simplify health and safety rules and decrease the burden of red tape (published on 28 November) and the HSE’s Judith Hackitt CBE who said in a recent speech to National Safety Symposium “there is a good deal of change going on in the world of health and safety, but the focus remains the same. Times are tough and tough decisions have to be made… Cost reduction is a challenge for us all, but it is also an opportunity to look for new and innovative ways of maintaining and where possible improving on outcomes - especially in health and safety.”
After it’s successful launch at the 2011 exhibition, CoreSkills+ is back to provide sixteen practical workshops focused on core health and safety skills. This popular programme has doubled in size since its inception last year and offers a choice of one-hour workshops which aim to refresh the knowledge of experienced practitioners and support the skill base of those starting their health and safety careers.

IOSH Chief Executive Rob Strange OBE said: “IOSH 2012 is a great opportunity for practitioners to network, learn and share best practice. And that’s why it has become such an essential part of our mission to improve the health and safety of people at work.We have responded to demand this year by doubling the Core Skills + sessions at conference, for example. People attend IOSH’s annual conference and exhibition because they want to become better practitioners and do their bit to reduce injury and illness in the workplace.”
The annual IOSH exhibition runs alongside the conference and is the premier choice for leading companies showcasing their latest products and services, as well as providing face to face advice and guidance on best practice and compliance. This offering will give procurement professionals the opportunity to compare and contrast a whole range of products and services from exhibitors including British Safety Council, Evac + Chair International, Nebosh and Total Access Ltd. In a time where cost considerations have to be paramount the IOSH annual conference and exhibition provides visitors with an opportunity to look for innovative ways of maintaining, and potentially also improving, standards.

With around 2,000 visitors expected to attend and more than 100 exhibitors on show, IOSH 2012 is set to feature the biggest and best exhibition in the history of this peripatetic show.
The IOSH annual conference and exhibition takes place at Manchester Central 06-07 March 2012


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