Greater Manchester Hazards Centre (GMHC)
provides health and safety advice across the North West.
GMHC is a not for profit organisation which campaigns, lobbies and advises workers on occupational health, safety and welfare issues. GMHC produces fact sheets and information packs; sets up and supports health and safety campaigns; raises awareness; co-ordinates a network of health and safety representatives in the North West; and has developed a health and safety App to support workers and trade unionists
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Over the years Greater Manchester Hazards Centre has attended many of the health and safety courses and spoken to the students about the Hazards Campaign and this will be a sad loss for trade union reps across Lancashire. I would like to place on record our thanks to Alan McShane and Steve Dawson for all the support they have given Greater Manchester Hazards Centre over the years and for the invaluable training of Health and Safety Reps, which will have ensured lots of companies and organisations are safer places to work. Solidarity!
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on Friday November 30, 2018, an employee of Totally Local Company Ltd was seriously injured when a ride-on roller, driven by another employee, reversed into him as he was attempting to lock up a vehicle container.
He was crushed between the vehicle and the container, that was there to support construction work at Abney Hall Country Park, Stockport, and suffered a collapsed lung and various broken bones requiring multiple surgeries.
An HSE investigation found that the company had no traffic management plan in place.
The traffic routes used were unsuitable and vehicles were not adequately separated from pedestrians, posing risk to both workers and the general public due to the park remaining open.
Totally Local Company Ltd of Stockport pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,367.36.
After the investigation, HSE inspector Rebecca Hamer said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.”
A new post, “Student life in the time of COVID-19” has just been published on the Public health matters blog.
Whether you’re a fresher, returning student or a postgrad, you’ll no doubt have lots of questions or concerns about how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact your student life. Read more to find out what you need to know before the university term starts.
More than a quarter of all British schools, nurseries and colleges are located in areas which have dangerously high levels of air pollution, according to the UK’s leading respiratory charities.
Research commissioned by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation found that 8,549 educational establishments (27% of all schools, nurseries and colleges) are situated in areas where levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are above guideline limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).1
The WHO recommends that concentrations of PM2.5 should not exceed 10 μg/m3. The current legal limit for PM2.5 in the UK is 20 μg/m3, twice the limit recommended by international health experts. Ultimately there is no safe level of PM2.5 for humans to breathe in.
PM2.5 is the most harmful type of air pollution for human health and disproportionately impacts certain groups, including children and people with lung conditions such as asthma and COPD.
Some of the highest levels can be found in Portsmouth, London, Gillingham, Camberley, Chatham and Slough, which all have schools in areas with PM2.5 concentrations above 13μg/m3.
Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham all have individual schools well above the guideline values.
The data, which was analysed by Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants, represents average levels in 2019 before the lockdown. Current air pollution levels could be even higher as people return to school and work and as fears over safety of public transport have led to more people driving to work or school. The research is ongoing and full findings will be published early next year.
Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation want the government to commit to a stronger and safer new legal limit for PM2.5 in the Environment Bill in line with WHO guidelines.
Harriet Edwards, Senior Policy and Project Manager for Air Quality at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “It’s alarming that thousands of children are going into schools where dangerously high air pollution levels could be putting their health and futures at risk..
“There are no safe levels for air pollution, we need to get levels as low as possible and it’s vital the government commits to ambitious new targets in line with the best available science from the WHO.
“COVID-19 has reinforced more than ever the importance of healthy lungs and it's our responsibility to ensure the next generation has clean air to breathe.”
Dr Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “With 1.1 million children (1 in 11) in the UK receiving treatment for asthma, it is high time we began prioritising the lung health of our young people.2
“There is strong evidence that air pollution can stunt the growth of children’s lungs and emerging evidence that it is linked to the development of asthma in children.
“Exposure to air pollution is dangerous for everyone but for people with lung conditions, it can cause a flare-up of their symptoms.3 Over half of people with asthma tell us poor air quality makes their condition worse, which puts them at higher risk of an asthma attack.”
Notes to editor:
School analysis for PM2.5
The research covers England, Scotland and Wales. Postcodes for schools were extracted from the Scottish government school statistics and the English and Welsh government register of schools and colleges. In total, 31,979 schools and colleges were included.
CERC used existing modelled PM2.5 data published by the UK Government as part of their responsibilities under the Environment Act 1995. CERC used predicted annual average PM2.5 data for 2019. These data have a spatial resolution of 1 km x 1 km, and therefore represent ‘background’ levels of PM2.5. These data give a representative indication of expected PM2.5 levels across the whole of the UK at sufficient resolution to provide good evidence.
For further information about how air pollution triggers flare-ups of lung conditions go to https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/pollution/ for asthma and https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/air-pollution/tips for other lung conditions
About Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation:
Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation merged on the 1 January 2020.
We’re working to change the lives of everyone affected by asthma, bronchiectasis, COPD, ILD, mesothelioma, pulmonary fibrosis and all other lung conditions.
We support people to manage their lung condition and live well. We fund world-leading research to find new treatments and cures. We campaign for change and better lung health for all.
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One law for us and one for the upper classes! The Govt response to the pandemic continues to be about us and them. Whose lives matter most! Ours are expendable, workers are disposable, their health & safety not prioritised and risks not controlled. https://t.co/HLN9ek1x33
- universities knew when students were having to commit to accommodation months ago. They should have been advising students and talking to accommodation people. Now they should financially compensate students for this mess. https://t.co/sS3qjwi4TF