Displaying items by tag: Health and Safety
As families navigate the start of school, the Church of England has released a statement following news that 156 schools are at risk of collapsing because a type of concrete known as 'RAAC' was used in their construction. 52 buildings could suddenly collapse, and action was immediately taken to make them safe by propping up the concrete. The other 104 are scrambling to put safety measures in place and stay open. Schools with RAAC and no safety measures prepared must close, with pupils relocated to temporary facilities or pandemic-style online learning reintroduced. The CofE education office, which is in contact with government ministers and the Department for Education on this matter, is ensuring that dioceses are aware of the situation where it affects their schools. It says, ‘We are in close communication with them about any needed mitigations or contingency measures.’ See also
The first asylum-seekers have been transferred to the controversial Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge. Dozens of others had their transfers cancelled after issues were raised, including mental and physical health. The Care4Calais charity said none of the people they supported - disabled, torture survivors and modern slavery victims - had been moved. In a report, a long-serving firefighter called the Bibby Stockholm a ‘major life risk’ and warned that most fire engines in the nearby area are ‘on call’ only, slowing down response times. The fire brigades’ union has written to the home secretary, raising concerns over an emergency response and demanding an urgent meeting but have not received a reply. Also, authorities and firefighters have issued formal warnings about inadequate fire evacuation protocols for the vessel, which contains 222 cabins lining narrow corridors over three decks. Asylum-seekers who arrived before March will transfer from hotels, not directly from Dover. Their notification documents do not state clearly that the Bibby Stockholm is a barge.
An NHS watchdog said doctors, ambulance dispatchers and other NHS staff have faced ‘significant distress’ and harm over the past year due to long delays in urgent and emergency care. Many staff interviewed for a national investigation ‘cried or displayed other extreme emotions’ when asked about their working environment. One paramedic said, ‘The bad sides of my job give me nightmares, flashbacks and fear, making me hyperactive, sleepless and sometimes not caring about the danger I put myself in.’ One ambulance service worker describes the last year as the most difficult in the decade she has worked there. Staff say pressure affects them outside work. Many struggled to interact normally with friends and family. Others, living alone, reported feelings of isolation and despair after difficult days. The watchdog found significant waiting lists for employee assistance schemes, occupational health and other services. The NHS promises an emergency recovery plan to reduce pressures.
A month before the Olympics opening ceremony, many Japanese people remain resolutely opposed to the Games, amid fears that the influx of athletes, sport officials and journalists could worsen the continuing Covid outbreak in Tokyo and across the country. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organisers are steadfast in their resolve to continue with the Games as anti-virus measures remain in place; they promise stringent protocols will prevent 93,000 visitors from worsening Japan’s outbreak. But questions still outnumber answers. Doctors and healthcare workers have the strongest opposition voices – an infection surge could overwhelm healthcare systems. ‘Front-line medical workers are being treated as disposable,’ said a 27-year-old nurse in Tokyo.Another factor fuelling public opposition is the sluggish pace of Japan’s vaccine rollout. A former Olympic athlete said the safety of people is not considered the priority. Instead, the IOC’s own interests are being considered the priority.
Boris Johnson has announced a ‘roadmap’ to loosen restrictions slowly in England. Pray for the schools which will be opening on 8 March. Cases of infection were highest among children when schools fully reopened in September 2020. Ask God to give teachers wisdom as they prepare return strategies; pray for pupils’ protection and parents’ peace of mind. Researchers agree that outdoor gatherings have a low impact on transmission, so by the end of March outdoor gatherings - including some sports - will be allowed. But despite being considered low-risk, the virus is still able to spread outdoors. Pray for people to remember the risks and keep to social distancing in outside gatherings. Finally, contacts between people are more dangerous indoors as particles in the air are replaced less slowly with clean air. Pray for the retail outlets due to open in April to devise wise ‘crowd control’ and hygiene measures that minimise transmission. Pray also for Church leaders as they make the many different church venues safe. See
A scheme to allow family members to regularly visit loved ones in care homes will be piloted in England. The trial will allow a relative or friend to be treated as a key worker and given frequent access, while abiding by the same rules as staff - weekly testing and wearing PPE. Campaigners said the value of regular contact to dementia patients would be huge, but action was needed immediately. All face-to-face care home visits were banned during the height of the first wave of the pandemic. While current guidance in England allows visits on a ‘limited basis’ where alternative arrangements are not possible, visits have been severely curtailed or prohibited entirely in those areas subject to enhanced restrictions. The care homes will determine their own policies, following the advice of local public health officials and carrying out dynamic risk assessments on the impact of visits on residents and staff.
A home in Newcastle for twenty disabled children aged between six and eleven was closed after Ofsted inspectors visited in September. Issues at the home included staff not knowing the ‘complex’ health needs of children. The inspectors’ report said there was serious risk of harm and loss of life because of the way the home was run. Children and young people were not safe when a fire was caused by a build-up of dirt in an oven. One child suffered ‘actual harm’ when a risk assessment was not observed, and a vulnerable child left alone together with one with challenging behaviour without adequate supervision. Not all staff were trained to administer emergency medication, which could have resulted in loss of life. High staff turnover meant they were unfamiliar with individuals’ needs. Pray that residents can adapt easily to different routines, surroundings, and staff at their new homes.
Boris Johnson has warned actions to stop a second surge of coronavirus must be ‘tough now’ in order to ‘protect’ Christmas. His words came as stricter new measures are announced for areas where cases are on the rise. The PM said people have to be ‘both confident and cautious’ and that it is ‘crucial’ the country does not re-enter ‘some great lockdown again that stops business from functioning’. He told the Sun newspaper that the Government wants to protect Christmas: ‘We want everyone to have a fantastic Christmas. But the only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas is to be tough now. He wants us to grip it now and stop surges. The communities secretary said on 17 September, ‘Over the course of the day a full briefing will be made available to everybody including the councils and business community’. Earlier in the week many were sceptical of new measures: see next article.
The Government wants stronger enforcement of pandemic rules and proposed a register of environmental health officers to support councils and marshals to enforce social distancing, group gatherings and wearing masks. But a lack of detail has been criticised by councils who say rules have caused confusion. Hospitality venues’ records of contact details must be held for 21 days. Venues not following Covid-secure guidelines will be fined. Local authorities will be supported to use existing powers to close venues while police break up and fine large groups. Employers have a legal duty to ensure health, safety and welfare of employees. Marshals will help employers to meet their legal duties and the ongoing management of keeping the workplace Covid-secure). The Government’s reaction to medical advice and its attempt to stop a second wave brings the problem of people understanding and hearing.
Three frontline health care workers have mysteriously fallen out of hospital windows in Russia recently, heightening public attention to the working conditions for medical staff. The incidents reflect the stress doctors are under in ill-equipped hospitals where medical workers are getting sick or dying: see Many healthcare staff are scared to complain publicly about working conditions. The UK media claimed 400,000 PPE sent from Turkey failed to meet UK safety standards, with gowns not ‘of the quality good enough for front-line staff'. As France extends emergency measures until 24 July, passengers travelling on Eurostar from the UK will have to wear a face mask or face covering, in line with guidelines from the French and Belgian governments.