General Health and SafetyUncategorized
January 15, 2018

What is the contemporary relevance of historical bad events?

If a builder constructs a house for a man but does not make his work strong with the result that the house collapses and so causes the death of the owner, the builder shall be put to death. (Hammurabi, Emperor of Babylon, circa 1760 BCE) Readers of our Hastam blogs may think that we focus too often on ‘historical’ bad…
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General Health and Safety
January 11, 2018

Active Safety Management and Leadership Training

The Problem Over the past couple of years we have had clients from very different industry backgrounds approach us for help with health and safety training for their various levels of management.  There were common factors with the issues they each faced.  They all had access to the usual generic safety management training courses.  However, precisely because they were generic…
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General Health and Safety
December 21, 2017

Christmas Calamities

Christmas is a time of year when we deliberately increase the fire loading in our living rooms.  Many people use a natural solution comprising a tree with many finely divided combustible components (such as needles – more on them below).  A bonfire is then built underneath it, sometimes incorporating containers of malt flammable liquids (at least that’s what I like…
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RiskRisk Assessment
December 14, 2017

Risk matrices – a personal story

Background Qualitative (or strictly ‘semi-quantitative’) risk likelihood/severity matrices have been used for perhaps 30 years to assist in preparing ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments.  Though they were not included as part of HSE’s ‘5 steps to risk assessment’, I have never seen risk assessments without them in recent years.  An amazing number are based on the approach in BS8800: 1996…
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Expert Witness
December 3, 2017

Why did I become an expert witness?

Hastam colleagues have recently written revealing blogs on their earlier experiences in health and safety. Recently Richard Booth described his ‘baptism of fire’ as an expert witness. This prompted me to tell my own story. My interest in expert witness work and also forensic science and investigations was inspired by watching the “The Expert”, a BBC TV series (in the…
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General Health and SafetyRiskSafety Culture
November 30, 2017

Work-related road accidents Motorbike delivery riders – a scandal in clear view?

Would any safety-conscious organisation employ learner drivers to travel by car to visit customers?   I’m sure the answer is ‘NO’, and prospectively a breach of section 2(1) of the HSW Act. What then about ‘pizza’ delivery riders? The risk of being fatally injured on a ‘powered two-wheeler’ (PTW; including mopeds and motorbikes) is about 30 times greater (per mile travelled)…
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RiskRisk AssessmentUncategorized
November 23, 2017

An incomplete view

Last week I spent time with an evening shift conducting part of a safety audit.  The following morning, when I opened my hotel room curtains, I saw this car waiting to pulling out into the rush hour traffic.  As you can see, the windscreen had been cleared just enough for the driver to see the road ahead.  This behaviour struck…
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Risk Assessment
November 16, 2017

Responding to unsafe behaviours at the ‘blunt end’

In last week’s post I discussed the need to not walk by unsafe supervision, management and leadership behaviours at the ‘blunt end’ just as much as unsafe working practices at the ‘sharp end’.  As noted these unsafe behaviours may be observed, but are more likely to be discovered by reviewed safety ‘output’ documents such as risk assessment records and by…
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General Health and SafetyRiskRisk AssessmentSafety Culture
November 9, 2017

What are you walking by?

‘Don’t walk by’ is an important feature of many safety improvement programmes.  It is clearly important.  If you walk past unsafe behaviours and conditions you are condoning them.  Everyone in an organisation should be ‘not walking by’ anything that is unsafe.  That is, anything that does not conform to required working practices, equipment and workplace conditions. But there is too…
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Expert Witness
October 30, 2017

A baptism of fire – my first experiences as an expert witness

  I first acted – in fact twice - as an expert witness in the USA over 30 years ago.  Both were civil cases involving accidents at power presses.  The manufacturers maintained that it was impracticable to fit interlocked guards on presses despite selling them with guards in the UK.  Hence the need for a UK expert. Appearing in court…
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General Health and Safety
October 23, 2017

Notification of New Substances Regulations

 Last year Dr Tony Boyle  wrote a number of short blogs reminiscing about his 50 years working in the world of Health and Safety. Recently a comment left on an old blog inspired some more thoughts by him you can read below. In an earlier post I mentioned that I had done some interesting work with Mary Hale on an expert system for the…
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General Health and Safety
October 19, 2017

Yet more on the NIIP

Last year Dr Tony Boyle  wrote a number of short blogs reminiscing about his 50 years working in the world of Health and Safety. Recently a comment left on an old blog has inspired a fresh set of new thoughts by him you can read below. At the end of my previous post on Robert Goodhand's response to my reminiscences I wrote that…
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