A round-up of what's new in the world of health and safety, from teaching modules to prevent children injuring themselves in quarries to paying a safety bonus to operatives

Financial incentives

Civil and structural engineer Roger Bullivant Concrete Products has reported a drop in serious injuries since it introduced a financial reward scheme for its employees.

The pilot scheme, called the Target Safety Initiative, has led to a 75% fall in major injuries and a 23% reduction in all forms of accidents during the first six months. The company set aside £20,000 for the scheme, and this was topped up every month when there was a fall in reportable incidents.

Dangerous behaviour, such as not wearing the correct personal protective equipment, using a mobile phone while operating machinery incurs penalties ranging from £25 to £500. After the 158 members of the production department received £50 in gift vouchers, the firm decided to carry on the scheme.


Advice for teenagers

The Quarry Products Association has conducted a research project to explore the problem of teenagers trespassing in quarries. The objective is to create a teaching module that will encourage children to have a greater understanding of the dangers they could put themselves in. The project has involved four secondary schools in Somerset, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.

The association says that quarries are particularly attractive to young people because they're usually exciting and isolated sites. The results of this project will be unveiled at the end of March with the draft report being published at the beginning of April.


Occupational health

A free advisory service called Workplace Health Connect has been launched to help reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and ill-health, which cost an estimated £10bn a year. The service is targeted at small businesses because it had been shown that workplace ill-health costs them up to 10% of their total payroll.

Small businesses will receive practical advice and support on health, safety and return to work issues. Alongside an adviceline, Workplace Health Connect will also organise workplace visits from qualified advisers in London, the North-east, the North-west, South Wales and the West Midlands. The service is delivered in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive.


Concrete safety cards

Proskills, the sector skills council that covers the building products sector, has launched a scheme for the Certification of Training Achievement for all operational staff involved with the pre-stressing of precast concrete in order to reduce injuries incurred by those operating machinery.

The scheme is supported by Tarmac Precast Concrete, Bison Concrete Products and Hanson Buildings Products and is administered on behalf of the industry by Proskills.

The skills council will monitor and review its effectiveness and made any necessary amendments to ensure it remains in line with changes in the industry.

The competencies recognised by the CTA are intended to complement any qualifications that subsequently emerge. Proskills says that although membership of the scheme is voluntary, some companies may decide that only those holding an appropriate CTA card shall be employed on site in respect to use the machinery.


Linden's CSCS promise

Linden Homes has pledged that every member of its workforce will hold a CSCS qualification by 2007.

About 170 site workers will be involved trained to take the health and safety test that underpins the card scheme. Linden will also provide safety awareness training to novices on site, and it will be encouraging subcontractors to follow its example.


Scaffolding standards

The British Standards Institute is to publish a draft revision of its standard for scaffold boards later this year. There has been a standard for boards since 1981, but only 30% of the common 38 mm boards bought today comply with it; the rest are made in accordance with other standards. The BSI hopes the revised BS 2482 will encourage contractors to use boards that comply with British Standards. The BSI is also publishing a checklist of points to consider when buying a scaffolding board.