No mobile phone ‘fatal distraction’ – be alert and keep your head up

In this day of advanced technology with all its benefits, we live in that world now of focusing on screens and tapping away on them. Our eyes and attention taken away from our surroundings, makes it easy to become distracted and oblivious of the environment we are in and how we subconsciously could be endangering our lives, loved ones and other persons in the vicinity. It is even more alarming when out and about, especially given the number of people wandering along the street entirely engaged in their handheld devices, such as mobile phones, and with their ears plugged in to music. On the streets, there are no rules literally or those rules are just broken ever so often. Your personal safety is very important out there, just like at home or work, and therefore you are entrusted to protect yourself, and likewise not endanger the safety of the public generally through your actions.

Mobile phones are ubiquitous to the point that nearly every adult, teen and even some kids have them. They are with us more than any person, including loved ones, or other things in our lives. Yes they are great as they keep us in touch with friends and family and can be lifesavers in an emergency. But are you staying aware of your surroundings or allowing yourself to be distracted when it comes to using yours? When out and about, are you vigilant of activities and dangers that are around you and therefore doing everything you can to not be distracted by your mobile phone, in order to ensure your personal safety? What steps are you taking to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of circumstance, should the unexpected occur? If something serious were to happen to you, your family could be left without their loved one. In turn, you need to take some personal responsibility for yourself and loved ones. You have to adapt to the environment and never be oblivious to it.

By taking a few necessary common sense safety precautions on mobile phone use when out and about, you can greatly reduce your risk of injury or harm:

  • Nowadays is it not uncommon for us to us our mobiles not just for making calls and sending texts but also for diary management, social media, downloading music and films, banking and shopping, among other functionality. If you want to use any app function on your phone, get yourself to a safe place first. Be in control of your phone; do not let it control you.
  • It is important that mobile phone users should always have their wits about them. Show a confident attitude, walk / run / drive carefully, keep your head up, and watch out for hazards. If you are busy looking at your phone, you are not paying attention to what is going on around you.
  • When out and about, be streetwise and always be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid distractions like texting, talking or gaming on the phone, and use special care around heavy machinery and moving vehicles.
  • Should there be the need to make or receive a call in public, find a safe place to make that call; otherwise keep your mobile phone out of public view.
  • Resist the urge to multi-task while walking, running, biking or driving; wait to make phone calls, check your emails, play games, watch videos and listen to music at your destination.
  • When wearing earpieces or headphones, keep the volume at a low level so you are still alert to your surroundings.
  • Do not talk, text, play games, watch videos or perform any other function on your mobile when driving, biking or running. There is no chat, message, game, video or application function that is so important.
  • Do not talk, text or play games on your phone when walking. If you are too preoccupied with your phone, you may not even notice that you suddenly stopped in the middle of the pavement, effectively blocking people who are trying to walk past you. Such sudden stop of distraction is also a recipe for disaster. You can get into an accident if your attention is somewhere else.
  • Never use your phone while driving at the same time and always obey the law on this issue. Using your phone while driving can be fatal. The number of road accidents and deaths due to mobile phone use is a testament to this fact. It takes less than a split second for a lapse in concentration to result in an accident.
  • With the phone-obsessed walking, running or biking into traffic at an alarming rate, all of your attention should be focused on the road when driving. Never drive distracted, distracted driving causes accidents.
  • Make sure your kids and teens understand that mobile phones must never be a distraction. Using them impacts others and it is only decent to think about their surroundings when they chat, text, play games, watch videos  or listen to music on it.

Overall, Safe Dimensions recommends no use of handheld device, such as mobile phone, whilst in motion. It is fitting that the safe practice (by law) applicable to use of handheld devices whilst driving should be likewise applicable whilst biking, running or walking, due to the fact of persons being in motion in the vicinity and probably not stationary in a safe place for their use. Everyone must play their part in ensuring their undivided attention when out and about, together with adhering to the law, and educating their loved ones on this subject matter, including their kids and teens. Make sure to use your mobile phone responsibly and with respects to others. Keep safe always.

Occupational health and safety management systems evolving from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001

In 2013, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved the creation of a new ISO project committee (PC) 283 to develop a definitive International Standard ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety management systems. For this, ISO/PC 283 has been tasked with transforming the internationally applied British Standard (BS) OHSAS 18001, into the new standard, whilst also taken into account other national standards and the International Labour Organization (ILO) standards, conventions and guidelines, such as ILO-OSH Guidelines, in this area.

ISO 45001 is intended to enable any organisation (regardless of its size or the nature of its work) to proactively improve its occupational health and safety performance in preventing injury and ill health. All of its requirements are designed to integrate into other health and safety programmes, such as worker wellness and wellbeing, and management processes of the organisation. It also addresses many, if not all, legal requirements in this area.

ISO 45001 will implement ISO Directives’ Annex SL process and structure, making integration of multiple ISO management system standards (MSSs) easier, such as ISO 9001, Quality management systems and ISO 14001, Environmental management systems. It uses a simple plan-do-check-act (PDCA) model, which provides a framework for organisations to plan what needs to put in place in order to minimise the risk of harm. The measures should address concerns that can lead to long-term health issues and absence from work, as well as those that give rise to accidents.

Development and approval of ISO MSSs follow an established process and sequence; Working Draft (WD), Committee Draft (CD), Draft International Standard (DIS), Final DIS (FDIS) followed by publication of the Standard. ISO 45001 development commenced with its WD, as scheduled, but the ISO members rejected the initial CD and so a second CD (CD2) had to be created. After the approval of CD2, another setback followed when the DIS did not gain sufficient approval votes during a ballot in May 2016. The working committee will now produce a second DIS (DIS2), hoping that this time it will convince all voting parties. If the DIS2 is received positively, the modified document may then be circulated to ISO members as a FDIS. In the event of an affirmative vote, ISO 45001 is expected to be published as an International Standard by late 2016 / early 2017.

Users of OHSAS 18001 will need to update their systems according to the requirements of ISO 45001 within a three-year transition period that will commence after the later standard is published for use. As the final publication date approaches, Safe Dimensions will organise workshops and webinars to prepare organisations for the transition to ISO 45001. Our team of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) management professionals will assist with gap analysis and targeted action plans to facilitate ISO 45001 certification. We can also assist in the full development of an occupational health and safety management system to ISO 45001, following the official publication of this standard.

EU Directives for Regulations updates to COMAH and Safety Case

Following Seveso III Directive (2012/18/EU) that deals with the control of onshore accident hazards involving dangerous substances, the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/483 (COMAH 2015), comes into force on 1 July 2015. The purpose of COMAH 2015 is to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and limit the consequences to people and the environment of any accidents that do occur. The COMAH Regulations apply mainly to the chemical and petrochemical industries, fuel storage and distribution, and alcohol production and storage (maturation). They may also affect businesses that store gas, manufacture and store explosives, or which have large warehouses or distribution facilities storing dangerous substances, e.g. agrochemicals, flammable liquids and propellants like aerosols.

Likewise, with EU Directive (2013/30/EU) on safety of offshore oil and gas operations, the Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case etc.) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/398 (SCR 2015), comes into force on 19 July 2015. The underpinning principle of SCR 2015 is that duty holders must manage both safety and environmental impacts of major accident risks, including hydrocarbon releases and blowouts, effectively. This SCR Regulations places new requirements upon the operator/owner, including those of:

  • Corporate Major Accident Prevention Policy (CMAPP);
  • Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS);
  • Safety and Environmental Critical Elements (SECE);
  • Verification and well examination schemes;
  • Internal emergency response arrangements;
  • Well, design, relocation, and combined operations notifications; and
  • Major accident notifications.

Meeting the requirements of COMAH and /or SCR Regulations for an organisation demands sound expertise. Safe Dimensions has significant experience of both COMAH and Safety Case preparation, management and delivery in aiding clients meet these demands. We are uniquely placed to support clients in taking into account of all relevant changes and new knowledge, and more so ensuring the validity of COMAH or safety case for submission and assessment by the competent authority and enforcing agencies in the UK (which are the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) and either the Environment Agency in England, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in Wales or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland, for the onshore COMAH safety report, and comprises of UK HSE and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) working in partnership, for the offshore Safety Case).

Targeting a fifth of energy from renewable sources

On the basis of the Renewables Directive, officially titled as 2009/28/EC, in which the EU baseline target is 20% by 2020, each member state has its own goal. To meet their goal, some member states, including France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and the UK, and to a lesser extent Belgium and Spain, need to assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective in meeting their renewable energy objectives. Besides this, fitting industry-specific standards and guidelines for renewable energy projects that embody a proactive risk management strategy, safety and environmental management system (SEMS) and other HSE supporting frameworks need to be developed. Safe Dimensions collaboration is helping this increasingly competitive industry meet the challenges it faces in these regards, right from the planning stage, through construction and into the operational phase. Our professionals’ sees it that dedicated good practice and HSE efforts would be necessary to met and even exceed the set 2009/28/EC target.

Safety play to spring your recreation

First day of the recreation Spring Tennis Challenge (a grassroot tennis tournament organised by Integrated Sports as part of its sports development initiative) from 11 April 2015 to 16 May 2015 of which Safe Dimensions is proud to be in association with and an official sponsor, marked the introduction with safety priority to the tournament. Safe Dimensions were on hand to welcome all participants, carried out inspection of the tournament’s first aid kit, and presented the safe moment entitled “preventing sports injuries – 10 match winning safety play every player needs to execute in the game plan”.

Last year was great success for the Spring Tennis Challenge and most especially had no injury occurring throughout the tournament. Our aim in partnership is to make it another successful year of playing safe and injury free. Let the games begin.

Key regulatory updates in construction design and management

Introduced in 1994 following publication of European Directive 92/57/EEC on minimum safety and health standards for temporary or mobile construction sites, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) are intended to ensure that all construction projects, from concept to completion, are carried out in a way that secures health and safety. On Monday 6 April 2015, the CDM Regulations 2015 replaced the 2007 Regulations. The new CDM regulations carry over many key aspects from previous versions, but there are also some fundamental updates. The biggest changes are the replacement of CDM co-ordinators by “principal designers”, full inclusion of domestic projects and overall attempt to reduce bureaucracy and communicate the key roles and responsibilities in a clearer manner. As part of HSE planning, design and execution, Safe Dimensions is helping clients and consultants fulfill the requirements of the revised CDM Regulations whilst ensuring compliance of their duties, such as that of principal designers, under this and other applicable legislations. Safe Dimensions keeps health, safety and environment (HSE) at the forefront of construction projects so that the risk of harm to those who have to build, use and maintain structures can be avoided or otherwise is as low as reasonably practicable.

Be safety proactive because safety is always for the best

We owe it to ourselves and to one another to be safety proactive since our negligence and mistakes could realistically cause propagating hazardous events. In worst case, such events could become fatal and even, without our knowledge, lead to loss of live(s). Taking a look at this in an industrial setting, an act of negligence or a fail in their duty of care and safety action by expert(s) and / or worker(s) could lead to health, safety and environment (HSE) for people, families and communities being put at significant risk levels. Certainly, because we have a reliance on industry to provide the products and services that affect our quality of life and safety, then this means that we could become exposed / victims to such a HSE risk level that is not proactively dealt with.

The sheer size of HSE risk exposures due to failure in many industries can be quite enormous when compared to the medical field that caters to providing preventative, curative and rehabilitative health care services. To understand these risk level exposures, think about the following: A surgeon that is unethical could painfully cost the death of one person at one time (or two deaths may result in the case of when a pregnant woman dies on the operating table), whereas an engineer that is unethical could cause the death of hundreds of people at one time. If an engineer that is unethical designs an high-rise building, a bridge or a part of an airplane that does not meet the safety requirements in order to save money, then hundreds of people’s lives are at risk. Likewise, if a driver takes on driving a car or coach when jetlagged, fatigued, texting or under the influence, then lives of people, passengers and families are put at great risk. Clearly, it can be seen that life does not always give second chances and second chances may not give a better life thereafter. Thus all businesses, irrespective of size, should be taking all reasonable precautions to ensure that safety requirements are met. Safe Dimensions is an all-encompassing safety practice solutions partner and provider to industry. Safety practice is essential to take everywhere and this includes at home. Become part of the safety solution now and always, for a better life and a better world.