On Wednesday 10 April, we visited one of the UK's biggest health and safety show at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham.
Held annually, The Health and Safety Event joins forces with similar events in the fire, facilities and security industries to provide exhibitors, networking opportunities and presentations on a wide range of subjects.
We attend as a visitor and not as an exhibitor because when we exhibit we want to meet the businesses we can help rather than those also in the profession. However it is a useful event to attend to ensure our knowledge of the latest news from the profession is up to speed so that we can pass on relevant information to our clients, while also helping maintain our Continuous Professional Development.
In particular there were two presentations that stood out. One was on using respiratory protective equipment (RPE), and the other was how one company used the suicide of one of its employees to bring mental health to the fore of all that they do.
The respiratory equipment talk was particularly useful for companies who create or work in dusty or fume-filled environments. With an estimated 12,000 people dying in the UK each year as a result of breathing in hazardous substances at work, it is a huge topic at the moment. The talk discussed the control hierarchy starting with elimination, substitution and engineering controls before correctly face fitted RPE.
They mentioned a free to download guide to deciding how to approach breathing hazards at work, produced by the British Safety Industry Federation. "Clean Air Take Care" can be downloaded at http://www.bsif.co.uk/clean-air-take-care
The mental health presentation was given by Seddon Construction's health and safety manager, who following the suicide of one of their painters in 2017, implemented a programme integrating mental health support throughout the business. Information on this programme, known as Jordan's Conversation, after the painter, can be found at https://www.seddon.co.uk/jordansconversation/