07 Feb Health & Safety in the 21st Century

Health & Safety in the 21st Century was the theme of a joint event held by the Cast Metals Federation, SHIFT and Confederation of British Metalforming on the 22nd January 2019, tackling occupational health and workplace safety issues that affect both the foundry and forging industries alike.

Approximately 100 people attended the event and were able to hear presentations from the Health & Safety Executive and industry experts as well as visit the exhibition running alongside, featuring the latest developments in safety equipment, monitoring devices and occupational health providers with Arco, Jacksons Workwear Rental, MOHS Workplace Safety, Guardsman Ltd, Rostaing, RPB Safety, Industrial Response First Aid Training, HAVi, 3M Occupational Health, Rockfall, Southalls, Cirrus Research and the Foundry Trade Journal. During the coffee and lunch breaks, the exhibition area was very busy with lots of networking between delegates and exhibitors.

Following the welcome from the CBM President, Steve Morley, the CMF’s H&S Officer, Richard Heath Prof MICME, discussed how, despite that fact that attitudes to safety and health and accident stats are improving in both sectors, the rest of the manufacturing base in the UK is also moving ahead.  He stressed that “the oldest and most traditional metal industries need to change and keep pace if we are to retain our current workforce and attract the next generation of workers.”

Dr John Rowe, Head of Manufacturing and Utilities Unit for the HSE, delivered the keynote address, commenting on the positive value of sharing best practice and learning from each other in collaborative events such as this one.  He then outlined the current HSE strategies and new activities which will include work on welding fume; since late last year all welding fume is classed as carcinogenic and therefore the HSE will be making dedicated interventions to address the issue and ensure that businesses do have the requisite knowledge and controls in place to ensure employees are protected from such fumes and are safe at work.

Dr Rowe finished his presentation by setting the industry three challenges:

  • Improvements and innovations in preventing and controlling exposure to RCS and welding fume
  • An increase in the number of employers taking a proactive (rather than reactive) stance to managing Work Related Stress with cross-sector learning about ‘what works’
  • Consideration of the behaviours that individual business cultures are driving – encouraging a real commitment to worker involvement

Peter Kelly, HSE Senior Psychologist, gave an entertaining presentation on the effects on individuals of occupational stress, particularly on their long term health noting that technologies such as mobile phones and laptops can actually contribute to a worsening work/life balance.  This was followed by an overview on tackling noise and vibration in the workplace from Andrew Hounslea, HSE Noise and Vibration Specialist.

Southalls then presented some simple techniques and considerations for preventing slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

The afternoon session started with a humorous and very informative presentation from Glen Musgrove of MOHS Workplace Safety, addressing one of the three HSE strategic topics, musculoskeletal disorders, and was finished with a presentation from Paul Mahoney, giving an excellent real life case study of how a workplace injury changed his life and how businesses of any shape, size or type can make changes to their mindset regarding safety, using the right equipment and motivating the workforce to be safer.

At the end of the event in the closing remarks, Richard Heath thanked everyone for attending the event and announced that this is the sort of event both trade associations would like to run again in the future, so a Save the Date of Wednesday 29th January 2020 was announced for the next year.

Abigail Southall
Abigail Southall