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Raising standards saves lives

Ross Moloney, CEO of The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), looks to engagement with RoSPA to help raise awareness and standards to create excellence in safety for our sector.

Raising standards saves lives


Ross Moloney, CEO of The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), looks to engagement with RoSPA to help raise awareness and standards to create excellence in safety for our sector.

The Health and Safety Executive reports “despite long term reductions in the number of workers killed by work activities, each year such cases continue, with 147 such deaths in 2018/19. This number compares with 253 twenty years ago (1998/99).” This is from HSE’s ‘Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2019’ publication, which features provisional RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) figures for 2018/19 that will be finalised in July 2020.

Accidents are a leading preventable cause of death, serious injury and long-term disability. They impact not only on the individual but also their families, communities and businesses – and the impact can be staggering. Yet occupational accidents and ill health do not need to happen. There can be no greater ingredient for a sustainable working environment than safety. Work is good for you but it is vital to understand how to create a safe work environment.

This was the message delivered by Karen McDonnell, Occupational Health and Safety Policy Adviser at RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), and also past President of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, at LEEA’s recent parliamentary reception. They are important points that I wish to echo here.

RoSPA’s ethos mirrors the future direction being cultivated by LEEA during our 75th anniversary year. With the new apprenticeship being a big part of that direction we must be mindful of the creating a healthy and safe environment for recruits into the lifting sector. As Karen McDonnell pointed out, there is an upsurge in apprenticeship numbers across industry, but while providing opportunity we need to ensure the new generation of recruits are not having the same old accidents.

Age is a significant factor in those figures. They show that 25% of fatal injuries in 2018/19 were to workers aged 60 and over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce. The rate of fatal injury increases with age, with workers aged 60-64 having a rate around twice as high as the all ages rate, and workers aged 65 and over a rate more than four times as high as the all ages rate. Almost all the main industry sectors show an age gradient in fatal injury rate.

When somebody has been in any industry for a long time they will know many short cuts and techniques – for better or worse. It is therefore not enough for the sustainability of our industry to simply put young recruits under the wing of an old hand with a legacy skill-set, which does not necessarily match the requirements of 21st century operation.

So it is vital that we recognise new ways of working, root out dangerous practices, and ensure we do not pass on potentially unsafe ways of doing things. We must learn from what’s gone wrong in the past to create the right conditions for people to thrive in their work safely.

We can look forward to the apprenticeship not only bringing young people into our industry but also acting as a conduit for delivering the new ideas and fresh thinking that will make our industry safer.

We know that raising standards saves lives. With this in mind, LEEA will be increasing its engagement with RoSPA in and effort to collectively raise awareness and lift standards worldwide. We want to gain the upper hand in the everyday battle to make industry a safer place. RoSPA focuses on health and safety throughout life – from school through to work and whatever age that may end. Its policy work goes out to a global network in 32 countries and influences the lives of 7 million employees and their families.

To help shape what’s coming down the line in terms of UK health and safety developments, LEEA will join RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety & Health Committee (NOSHC). This voluntary association of people, which is drawn from organisations representing a broad cross section of occupational safety and health interests, is an advisory committee, identifying ways and means of improving occupational safety and health and shapes RoSPA policy and key issues.

Ultimately, our aim must be to deliver excellence when it comes to safety in the global lifting industry.