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Work-related death investigation - no need to panic!

Local authorities in the South West (SW) have been welcoming the distribution of a package of support materials to turn to in the event of a work-related death happening in their patch. The pack is designed to help local authority officers who are experienced investigators of health and safety incidents to make sure they take account of the key additional issues arising when they are investigating a fatality.

The pack aims to present the distilled experience of local authority and HSE investigators in a series of hints and tips, aide memoir and guidance to procedures. The contents include suggestions about how to ensure the best relationship with the police, handling communications with bereaved relatives and what to expect at an inquest. The information is presented in two PowerPoint files, which are being distributed on CD and can also be viewed in the SW Partnership Team section of the Extranet.

HSE is also providing each local authority in the South West with printed copies of related material such as the HSE Investigator's Guide, the Work Related Deaths Protocol and a Key Decision Log.

Louise Driscoll, an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) from South Gloucestershire, and Ian Whittles, HSE Inspector have developed the pack with the support of colleagues. The idea for the pack arose in the regional liaison group as a response to the perennial problem of equipping EHOs to be able to respond to low frequency demands that are nevertheless very important to get right when they occur.

HSE and LACORS will be reviewing whether the pack should form part of the support they offer local authorities across the U.K.

Stress Topic Pack – Updated version available

The latest version (April 2008) of the Stress Topic Pack is now available from the HSE website.

Control of dust from flour and flour improvers in in-store supermarket bakeries.

Working together, HSE, LACORS and Supermarkets have developed a new Benchmark (March 2008) to be implemented in in-store supermarket bakeries.

The ‘supermarket enforcement benchmark’ is for use by Local Authority Inspectors to improve good practice and ensure that the appropriate control measures are in place.

The benchmark is available to access via the Extranet.

It covers acceptable practice including:

Latex Allergy in the Workplace – HSE Policy review

NHS Plus has recently produced evidence-based guidelines for the management of latex allergy in the workplace.

The guidelines focus specifically on latex exposure from gloves and make a number of recommendations about the use of powdered latex gloves, powder-free latex gloves and non-latex gloves, in the context of managing individuals who are latex-sensitised.

The guidelines take into account evidence about the effects of exposure to latex from gloves, including from low-protein, powder-free gloves, that has emerged since HSE's policy on the use of latex gloves was developed, and it is appropriate that we review the policy position in the light of this new information.

Stop Slips in Kitchens – an update

woman slipping in kitchen

The initiative continues to flourish. Over 39k Stop Slips in Kitchens packs have been distributed to date.

The spring saw a flurry of activity. Advertorials were published in catering journals and visitors to the HSE stand at Hotelympia reported seeing the articles and then downloading the poster to use in their premises.

Three events were held for large catering & hospitality companies, 91 people attended and it is estimated that 18,481 sites could be reached through them alone. The initiative was further boosted by the ‘Shattered Lives’ campaign, as catering and hospitality was one of the key sectors targeted.

This year looks as though it will be just as busy. A further event for large employers is planned for 4th November and both Wales and London are holding Safety and Health Awareness Day (SHAD) type events for local catering managers in the next few months. ‘Shattered lives’ will continue to target catering and hospitality within the national press. Also watch out for an exciting new product ‘STEP – slips and trips eLearning package’ which includes a course specifically designed for the catering and hospitality sector. Details of this follow in the next article.

Several local authorities were recently contacted to take part in an evaluation of the pack. The headlines indicate that many of you are finding them very useful or relevant for your work and that the packs are being used to target a wide range of catering and hospitality dutyholders. We are still analysing the findings and will do what we can to address the issues you have raised.

To assist with your ongoing delivery of this initiative, Local Authority Circular (LAC) 77/5 has been updated and power point briefing produced. A further 30 minute presentation for employers on stopping slips in kitchens which you can deliver is currently being developed and will also be attached to the LAC. If you are thinking of holding an event this year please let us know. For half to full day events we may be able to provide support. Stop slips in kitchens packs will continue to be available to order until March 2009.

For kitchen related case studies, visit:

Electronic versions of the pack contents can be found on the public Stop slips in kitchens web page:

STEP – Slips & Trips eLearning Package

Available autumn 2008

STEP is an eLearning package, providing slip and trip guidance through interactive learning.

It is an easy way to learn about slips and trips, how they are caused, why preventing them is important and how to tackle them. Step includes quizzes, videos, animations and interactive sequences to enhance the learning experience.

Anyone can use it: workers, supervisors, managers, safety representatives, small businesses, health and safety professionals, health and safety trainers, architects, designers and so on. This is because it contains three levels of information - introductory, intermediate and advanced.

But it is not just a tool for Dutyholders; you too can use it to learn more about slips and trips or to train others.

STEP contains both a generic course suitable for many different industries and courses specifically designed for Food Manufacturing, Hospitality & Catering, Education and the Health Services

STEP is designed to be used online and at no cost. It will also be available on DVD, though there will be a charge if more than one copy is required.

STEP more information - visit the slips and trips site for latest news:

If you would like to be informed when STEP becomes available, or have a specific question about it please contact:

New health and safety Councillors’ Handbook

A revised and updated Councillors' Handbook on health and safety was launched by Lord McKenzie on 3 July 2008 at the LGA annual conference.

The Handbook demonstrates the impact health and safety regulation activity can have on local authorities’ key aims and priorities. The Handbook, which is illustrated with key facts and examples from across the regions of health and safety initiatives, supports the key priorities in Council’s delivery plans as well as providing important information for local Councillors when making resource decisions in their communities.

This may be of particular interest to new Councillors and others in local councils who want or need to find out more about how health and safety regulation can help to improve the lives of people in their community.

Copies of the Handbook are available for download at:

Upcoming CIEH Events

CIEH will be running the following courses over the coming few months.

Visit for full information and details of offers running on some events or contact Karen Gough on 020 7827 5856 or email

Updated 2019-05-08