Even if they aren't part of a trade, one of the first things people probably think about when they look at a building site is how safe it looks. Health and safety is always the top concern when it comes to building site work, and new statistics from the Health & Safe Executive show just how different things are in comparison with 40 years ago.

Their new document, titled 'Statistics on fatal injuries in the workplace in Great Britain 2014' suggests that the number of fatalities in Britain has dropped by 85% over the past 40 years, from more than 650 a year in 1974 to a record low of 133 today. The provisional data also states that there were a total of 42 fatal injuries to construction workers in the UK between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014, which is 9% lower than the average figure of 46.

Minister for State Health and Safety Mark Harper praised the findings, calling Britain "officially one of the safest places in Europe - and the world - to work". He also added: "While we all rightly curse false health and safety excuses, it's worth thinking how fortunate we are that we can go out to do a hard days' work, knowing our safety is being taken seriously."

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt also commented on the news, praising the Health and Safety at Work Act. "The Health and Safety at Work Act may be 40 years old but it – and our regulatory system – are world class."

Site safety may be better than ever, but construction workers looking to work onsite still now require a Green Labourers' Card to prove they are qualified to work and are familiar with the health and safety requirements. To earn this, applicants are first required to pass the Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment award. Here at Access Training we offer the City & Guilds version of this exam, which you can complete alongside your construction training or as an individual qualification. To find out more on the exam and the changes made the the Green Labourers' Card. give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

News via HVP Mag

Summer temperaturesIf the last few weeks have taught us anything, it's just how hot the British summer can get. This might be fantastic for when you're relaxing and sunbathing, but when you're working, things can get rather uncomfortable. On a construction site, it may be awfully tempting to strip down to keep cool, but this is a big risk to building site safety. Workplace equipment supplier Slingsby is urging workers to stay safe by continuing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats and high visibility clothing.

These things should be provided by your employer under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, to cover health and safety risks where they can't be controlled in other ways. Slingsby encourage employers to ensure that their workers aren't wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting clothes, and to take the various brands and styles into account when purchasing the right PPE.

Building site safety always comes first, even more so with the HSE currently on a blitz of construction sites in the UK. While the final figures are yet to be confirmed, during a 2-week period of inspections the Health & Safety Executive is estimated to have stopped work on 13 occasions due to poor conditions. Obviously these were due to more serious conditions such as exposure to hazardous substances and materials, but not having the right precautions could still lead to fines.

If you're a construction employer, it is your duty to keep your workers safe; if you're a worker its your responsibility to abide by the building site safety rules for the sake of your own life.

If you're considering a career in the construction industry but require the skills and qualifications to make it happen, give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492. We provide intensive training courses complete with City & Guilds accreditation in bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry, plumbing, gas, electric and more. Even though our courses are far shorter than those you'll find at a college or similar facility, the quality of learning we provide is no different as our courses are staffed by tutors with many years' experience in the industry as professionals. Whatever your needs or goals may be, our team is ready to find the perfect course for you!

While an electrician who's undergone a proper electrical training course and earned their qualifications would never make these kind of mistakes, unfortunately the industry is rife with unqualified individuals looking to make an easy bit of cash without any regard for their customer's safety (or even life). These cowboy builders commonly do poor electrical installation jobs, resulting in customers having to call out proper professionals to fix things.

New research from Trade Skills 4 U has found the most common jobs electricians are called out to do after a cowboy builder or naive DIY enthusiast has done a poor job of it. Many of these shouldn't be taken lightly, as they can easily cause electric shocks that could result in death. Potentially fatal mistakes including drilling through wiring, repairing electrical appliances while they are still switched on and even cutting through power leads.

With the most common jobs involving either light fittings (41%) and lighting circuits (29%), its no surprise that many naively believe they have the skills to complete such tasks without having done an electrical course. In fact, one fifth of the people sampled said that they will confidently attempt to install new lighting in their homes without any electrical training. One tenth said they'd do the same installing new wiring.

These might be simple jobs for an electrician to carry out, but for someone without the proper training they can be very dangerous. At the very minimum anyone attempting these sort of jobs should have the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations and Part P qualifications, both of which we offer courses for here at Access Training Academies. Shoddy electrical work could cost someone their life and it might not be yours - it could be your friends' or family members'. Ask yourself, is it really worth it?

To find out more about the electrician courses we offer at Access Training, give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Via DIY Week

There's more to being an electrician than simply completing your electrician training course. earning your qualifications and starting work. Another duty is to promote the safe use of electrical appliances and installations, much like the work of charity the Electrical Safety Council. Their latest campaign is calling for retailers and manufacturers to promote awareness after research found hair straighteners are being sold without additional safety devices or information on preventing burns.

Their investigation found that hair straightener burns among children have doubled in recent years, accounting for nearly one in ten burns. It also found that two thirds of parents are not taking the measures to store the appliances away safely. Hair straighteners can reach temperatures of up to 235°C, staying hot for around 15 minutes even after they have been switched off. Many incidents have been caused when toddlers touch, grab or even tread on the hot straightener plates. However it isn't just children who are at risk, as nearly half of all adults surveyed said they have received a burn from a hair appliance before.

However blame does not solely lie with the parents, as the ESC's mystery shoppers investigation also found that none of the high street and online retailers sampled encouraged customers to buy heat proof pouches alongside them. More alarmingly, while most manufactures provided basic safety information with their straighteners, only a third provided any sort of heat proof mat or pouch. Those that were tested varied greatly in quality - with some even smelting once heat was applied.

The ESC are now starting their own hard-hitting campaign to promote awareness and reduce burns among children and adults alike. The campaign, dubbed "Beauty Burns" has already created a powerful video to illustrate the effects of leaving these potentially dangerous appliances unattended around children. The charity will also be giving away free heat proof pouches in an attempt to encourage people to store their hair straighteners properly. To find out more about the campaign, visit its official page at www.esc.org.uk/beautyburns.

ESC spokesperson Emma Apter commented that it was "worrying" these products are being sold without retailers or manufacturers taking reasonable steps to promote safety. She added: "Hair straighteners can cause burns so serious that surgery is required, and children are at even more risk since their skin can be 15 times thinner than that of adults. Retailers and manufacturers must do more to protect their customers."

Fire service data indicates that over 20% of domestic fires are caused by electrical faults, with this figure increasing during the festive season.

As the festive season fast approaches, some of you will be planning your part in the annual “Battle of the Illuminations” with your neighbours. This year you will want more lights, bigger, brighter, and more colourful for a more dynamic display that will make people stare in amazement.

All of your socket outlets will be put to use, many with multi-way extension leads attached. Will you be checking to see if your installation can safely cope with the extra load? No! Don’t be daft its Christmas, it will be ok!

Will you check the lights to make sure that they are safe to use?

  • Are they the correct type of lights for use outdoors?
  • Are the flex, plug and leads un-damaged?
  • Are the plugs fitted correctly and do they contain the right fuse (usually 3Amp)?
  • Are all the lamps the correct rating (voltage, wattage)?

Or shall we just trust to luck?

Then on one December evening your home becomes the focus of everyone in the neighbourhood. People from all over, standing wrapped in coats and scarves watching the awesome display that is before their eyes. A myriad of multicolour flashing lights illuminating jets and sprays of water as the local fire service battle to save your home!

One small spark is all it takes to start a devastating fire, do yourself (and your family) a favour this Christmas – check your lights (or get a qualified electrician to check then) before you put them up and use RCD’s to protect each ‘string’. A small price to pay to have a Merry Christmas with your family– in your own home!

Season’s Greetings,

- Mark Jenkins.

Mark Jenkins is the Electrical Course Development Manager here at Access Training. If you would like to take the steps to become a professional electrician, our electrical training courses are the fastest and most effective way to build up the skills you need and gain the necessary qualifications for a prosperous career in the industry. To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

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