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Podcast - Bad Hand Day! - Transcript

Welcome to this addition of the HSE Podcast. In this episode we speak to Kevin Allars from HSE's Nuclear Division. He tells us how HSE is making sure that a new generation of UK based Nuclear Power Stations meet high standards of safety, security and environmental protection.

We visit Toppers Hairdressers in Wrexham to see how much of a problem dermatitis in the Industry

It's very itchy and it gets like lumps, little lumps and its very dry

It looks a bit like eczema

It does but your skin goes really thing with the creams they give you in the doctors. Its just a nuisance really it just never goes.

But first here is a round up of the latest health and safety news.

The HSE has just finished a nationwide crackdown on construction site safety. Inspectors visited nearly two thousand sites during the month long initiative. One in five sites failed basic safety checks and enforcement action was taken on three hundred and forty eight sites, either stopping work immediately or ordering improvements to be made. HSE said it was disappointed to find such widespread disregard for basic safety.

New guidance has been published for tanning salons. HSE now recommend that under eighteens do not use sun beds and that all coin operated salons are supervised by trained staff. The changes have been made to bring the guidance in to line with international health advice. A free leaflet explaining the guidelines is available from HSE's website.

Worrying figures have emerged from the latest investigation in to workplace transport. More than three quarters of vehicles stopped during safety checks in England and Wales were not loaded safely, putting motorists and loading staff at risk. During the last three years fourteen people have been killed and more than two thousand people injured by cargo falling from vehicles. Further checks are now planned.

And finally news that three of HSE's board members have been reappointed. Construction Specialist John Spanswick will sit on the board for another three years as will Local Government expert Sandy Blair. Judith Donovan a business woman from Yorkshire and the boards Agriculture Champion has been reappointed for another twelve months blocking up the maximum ten years in the role.

You are listening to the HSE Podcast. For links to these HSE Websites and other issues covered in this episode view the transcript at

You can stay up to date with the latest news and updates from the HSE by visiting the news pages on our websites at news.hse, if you would rather get the latest news by email then sign up for free regular eBulletins on a range of different health and safety subjects.

Sign up at There has been a lot of discussion about the possibility of building new Nuclear Power Stations in Britain. HSE is playing its part in the decision process from a safety security and environmental point of view. Kevin Allars tells us more

My name is Kevin Allars I am the Director in HSE for the new Nuclear Build Generic Design Assessment

So what does that mean

Well the Generic Design Assessment of the New Nuclear Build Programme is a program by which we can assess from a safety point of view, an environmental point of view and also from security point of view, the new reactors that might be built in this country when somebody decides they want to build them.

What is happening here is that the Government is making a decision about Nuclear Power and building new Power Stations because we need sources of energy.

Well the Government has made a decision that it wants to have a balanced energy policy and part of that policy is actually to build new nuclear power stations. It will make the decision at some point about what nuclear power stations will be built in this country. What they have asked us to do is to input to that decision making process on the basis of safety, environment and security and that is what we are doing so that they can make an informed decision in a few years time.

Okay so tell me a bit about this Generic Design Assessment

What we have got at the moment is we have got what we call Requesting Parties and you will see RP's written all over our website. And these requesting parties are companies that have said we would like to probably build this type of reactor in your Country. So what we have got to do as the Regulator for this Country is to say from our point of view can they do that. They give us a design we assess it and then we pass comment on that we give them what is called a confirmation at the end, which says that this design we don't see anything that would preclude it from being built and operated in this Country under our regulatory regime.

People are quite nervous about Nuclear Power aren't they? So you are saying that it is your job in a way to put people's minds at rest, so that if they get a Power Station anywhere near where they live they can feel that it is safe.

From the Nuclear point of view what we have in the Nuclear Directorate the NII as it is well known in this Country are some very technically able people who can assess the safety, security and environmental side of that nuclear power. We have got quite a good record in this Country on Nuclear Power. What we will do we are using those same people, our principals, our experience to actually look at the new Nuclear Power Stations and do the same thing with the generic design that those people are putting in front of us.

Now you are talking about the people you have got a bit of a problem haven't you finding the right staff to see this process through.

The problem is for a long time the Nuclear Power Industry and the Regulators of this Country, things have been ticking along but there has been no new expansion there has been no signal of new Power Stations so a lot of the expertise has retired and gone and the Universities haven't been bringing people through in those type of subjects because the Government hadn't made a decision on Nuclear Power. Now we are in a position where there is a potential big expansion not only in this country but worldwide and there are simply not enough people coming through the system. So what we have had to do is we have had to make our package more attractive, we have had to do lots of things to try and bring people in to working for us in the NII in the Nuclear Directorate, rather than going off working for the companies that are now also fishing in the same goldfish bowl for the same people.

What is the answer to that how are you going to get more experts in this area?

Well what we have done in HSE is we have actually increased the salary package. We are opening offices in Cheltenham and in London as well as in Bootle

What about the question about the people who have got the skills you said the skills base is disappearing because those experts have retired now. Students do media degrees but they don't do degrees in Nuclear Science do they?

We are working with Industry we are working with the Universities we are working with Skill based organisations. They are actually now looking to build new courses and get people through the universities but we have got a gap. We have got the people who are fifty odd and we have got the people who will be coming through at twenty odd but we have got a gap in the middle. During that period of the next twenty years the goldfish bowl is going to be quite difficult to fish in.

Is this quite a new thing? As I understand it this process means that every step of the way you can be involved and say well you know this isn't going to work. So instead of commissioning someone to do something and then at the end of it realising its been a terrible waste of money is it a more sensible way to use money. I think it is, it is quite unique for HSE to work this way and work on something that may never come and is ahead of itself, but what we are doing is working with the designers essentially whilst they are designing something. And that is a very efficient and effective way to get a better package at the end. We are now looking to see how this works within the Nuclear Directorate to see whether we can use it on other things.

So if people want to follow the process of this and find out more about this project where do they go?

Well again quite uniquely for HSE what we have got for the New Nuclear Build Programme is on the HSE website which is if you then put slash new reactors in you will actually bring up a lot of information on what we are doing on this programme.

Visit the transcript for this podcast episode on for more information about HSE's new Nuclear Power Stations Programme.

The HSE protecting people's health and safety at work.

Every year hundreds of hairdressers' suffer from dermatitis, a skin condition cause by the chemicals they use in their job. Seven out of ten stylists will suffer from inflamed skin during their career but a simple solution is at hand, as we find out.

Right Mr Jones usual ñ yes please - I am Deborah Evans and we are in Toppers in Little Acton Wrexham

How long have you owned this hairdressers' for?

This salon for fifteen years but I have been hairdressing for just over thirty

So how much of a problem is this dermatitis for people who work in your industry?

Well it can be a big problem but if you are sensible it doesn't have to be a problem at all. The gloves are there to be used if you don't use them then its your own fault

What is the problem with dermatitis what is it can you describe it?

Courtney can describe it because she has had it

I have had it. I have got it there where it is worse, its very itchy and it gets like lumps little lumps and its dry

I looks a bit like eczema

It does but your skin goes really thin with the creams they give you in the doctors. It is just a nuisance really because it never goes you have to constantly sleep in cream and cotton gloves and stuff like that. But it is a real nuisance

And how old are you


You are eighteen and you have got dermatitis from working as a hairdresser

I have always worked in a salon as a Saturday girl, so I suppose you are always washing hair aren't you. So my hands are constantly in water an this was before they started to bring in the gloves and I didn't have to wear the gloves then and that's when it started. Sometimes if it is really bad then I will wear the gloves but I don't like wearing the gloves to shampoo really but you have to now.

Who says you have to?


I never knew until now that actually if you get dermatitis that's it you have got it


So you will just going to be prone to it for ever

Yes because I do get rid of it it does go but then it comes back, so

Courtney can be cleaning at home and a chemical reaction will bring it straight out again, it doesn't necessarily have to be in the salon once she has got it it is there

I am Isla Fairhurst and I manage HSE's skin disease project.

Can you tell me a little bit about the campaign you run here

Yes we have run a campaign called ëBad Hand Day Campaign', which is really aimed at bringing about awareness of dermatitis amongst hairdressers and getting them to do something about it. A lot of them do know about it but feel there are no solutions and what we were trying to do is tell them there are solutions and actually they are very simple solutions.

And what are they

Wearing gloves and wearing those gloves when you are handling hairdressing products or water, because water and the shampoos together are a big cause of dermatitis. And also good hand care so looking after your skin using moisturisers regularly and checking your hands regularly for the early signs of dermatitis because if you can spot it early you have got a much better chance of doing something about it.

I suppose the crucial question then is what are those early signs?

Well you can see dryness cracking redness of the skin. The skin may feel itchy and I think once you start to see that particularly the sort of cracking and dryness thing you know you need to do something about it.

Courtney who works in Toppers in Wrexham said that she doesn't like wearing the gloves for shampooing. What do you do if people aren't really keen on the solution to dermatitis you know i.e. wearing these gloves.

We were aware when we started the campaign that there was quite a lot of reluctance amongst some hairdressers who said oh no the gloves snag or they are not comfortable to wear. So we ran a trial we worked with a lot of the the industries so Habia the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority, HBSA who is the Hair and Beauty Suppliers Association and the National Hairdressers Federation, along with two glove suppliers to run a glove trial, and that took place at seven hundred and fifty salons around the country. And what we did is we give the hairdressers a free supply of glove that the glove suppliers gave us those. In general when the hairdressers tried the gloves and they were the longer length and smooth gloves so that they didn't snag, and when the tried the gloves in the right size we got some really positive feedback from them. Eight out of ten said they actually found the gloves really comfortable to wear so it was really positive.

So I suppose now what you have got to do is to get people who work in hairdressers to understand that there are actually gloves that are worth wearing you know

Yes absolutely. We have got that information now up on our website an the Local Authorities who have been working with us on this have been going out to the salons doing a fantastic job telling the hairdressers what needs to be done and as I say helping them get hold of the gloves to give them a try themselves.

And you have a lovely holiday and a good birthday, take care

Thanks bye now

Bye Mr Jones

Next in our regular feature we put HSE's info line Victoria Brady to the test by asking her to answer one of your popular health and safety questions.

Good afternoon HSE's info-line Andrew speaking how can I help?

Hi my name is Victoria Brady I am the training manager here at HSE's info-line and I am going to answer all your health and safety questions for you.

What do I do if I want to become a first aider?

In order to become a first aider within the workplace you have to go on a four day first aid at work course from a company that has been accredited by the HSE to do that course.

If I am an employer how many first aiders do I need at work, do I have to bother with them?

The legislation in relation to first aid doesn't state you automatically need a first aider. What it states is that you will need an appointed person and that is someone who is not necessarily qualified but can call and ambulance if there is a problem and can stock the first aid box. Whether you actually require a first aider is going to be based again on an assessment of needs which is done by the employer. So you need to look at things like how many people do you employ, what kind of working activity do you do I mean for example an office is going to have a lot less hazards than a construction site. You need to look at how far where you are from emergency services if there was an incident. Do you have any history of accidents within the workplace. Taking all that in to account you should be able to deliberate and decide how many first aiders you actually require for your workplace.

What does the law state? Does the law state anything about having first aiders?

Not specifically first aiders it states you need an appointed person but it is down to the assessment as to whether you need any further sort of first aid

I understand there is some changes to the first aid regulations .

The regulations are changing the bulk of the regulations aren't specifically changing you will still require an appointed person and you will still need to appoint a first aider if your assessment requires it. The difference comes in relation to the courses you can go on. There is still the four day first aid at work course which is available to do for first aiders, however there is a second course you can do now which is the emergency first aid at work course. Previously to this companies did not need to be accredited to run that course this is now changing with the new regulations and they will need to be accredited to a different organisation other than the HSE.

So basically it means that more people can become first aiders and the quality of the training is going to be better.

Yes that is basically it it gives a sort of more variety in the first aid courses you can actually go on and I think it will be more appropriate for different types of work places and it may be that an office doesn't feel that it requires a first aider that has gone on the four day first aid at work course because there aren't that many sort of specific hazards within the workplace but they might feel that the one day course the emergency course is a much more beneficial course for someone to do within their office.

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Updated 2014-06-27