“An event that had the potential to cause injury or damage”
In other words – this time no one was hurt and no damage caused, but next time we might not be so lucky. Take all reasonable steps at all times to protect the health, safety and welfare of yourself and others. Never put yourself in danger unless you are fully competent to deal with the situation. If in doubt, seek help immediately!
Please complete this form as accurately as possible to file a Close Call report. Submitting your name and contact details are optional, however your identity will remain confidential and only be revealed to the HSQE Close Call team. You are free to remain anonymous if you wish, however we will be unable to update you as to any actions taken as a result of your report.
Reporting a Close Call is now even easier with the Morson Close Call App.
Simply download the app from Google Play or the App Store for on the go, convenient safety reporting.
By Gareth Morris, group director of health, safety, quality and environmental compliance In just a few short weeks, life has changed for so many that it’s sometimes hard to remember where our priorities lay in the weeks and months before the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 will include immeasurable tragedy, along with significant impacts on the global economy. But not all of the COVID-19 legacy will be negative. The virus has prompted a pause in the way we live and work that has delivered quantifiable environmental benefits. The question is, can we use that pause and environmental data to identify new opportunities for a fast-track route to zero carbon? What is Carbon:2023? The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined concepts of caring and community but caring has always been in Morson’s DNA and our commitment to giving back to the community and environment in which we work and live remains unchanged. That’s why our Carbon:2023 pledge is more important to us now than ever. We launched our Carbon:2023 scheme before the pandemic, based on the parameters of what we knew then as ‘normal’. Our promise was to aim to be a carbon neutral business by 2023; not by simply buying carbon offsets but by changing behaviours. Our goal was to make a sustainable commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by examining where changes could be made, ensuring that, as a company, as a team and as individuals, we could make a meaningful and long-lasting difference. Those objectives haven’t changed, but so much else has changed around us in such a short time. Our challenge now is to capitalise on the potential behaviour change outcomes of the pandemic and use them to plot a more direct path to carbon neutrality. Taking our lockdown experience into the new normal At some point, the lockdown will be over and we will return to ‘normal’. It will be a ‘new normal’, however, and we will have the opportunity to decide what it looks like. Those decisions will be based on experience: we must question the way we did things in the ‘old normal’ and what we’ve learned during lockdown to inform choices for working and living more sustainably with reduced carbon emissions going forward. One of the key obstacles to environmentally-conscious behaviours in the past has been resistance to change. Companies and their employees have operated on an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ philosophy, perpetuating work and life behaviours with negative environmental impacts simply because change is difficult and they couldn’t see how it was possible. The difference that the pandemic has made is that change has been imposed and people have been forced to adapt to it. It’s not been easy and not all of it can or should be part of the way companies operate when the lockdown is over. However, some of our new habits can and ought to become the foundations of new patterns of behaviour. Since the lockdown began, air pollution in the UK has plummeted compared to the same period last year. Average daily nitrogen dioxide (NO2) readings dipped below 10 micrograms per cubic metre at the beginning of April, less than half of what they had been when the lockdown began or at the same time last year. Much of the reason for this is likely to be the significant reduction in use of all forms of transport. Use of motor vehicles is down by 60 per cent since the start of the lockdown. Not only does the lack of ‘non-essential’ journeys reduce carbon emissions and use of fossil fuels, it also creates opportunities for people to adopt healthier, more environmentally-friendly cycling and walking habits as their permitted daily exercise, which will hopefully become routine once restrictions are over. Whereas, under the old ‘normal’, we might have considered face-to-face meetings or a weekend visit to the high street as ‘essential’, what the lockdown has taught us is that those behaviours were not nearly as necessary as we thought. We’ve learned that it is not only possible to hold meetings as a video call, but it’s often beneficial: just think of all the travel time and expense, diary clashes and scrabbling around for meeting rooms that have been avoided over the past few weeks. And for every meeting held over the internet, the carbon emissions associated with travel have been saved. The lockdown has created a new consciousness of what we really need and how much we routinely waste. We’ve had to get by with less, so routine habits, like printing off paper copies of documents before meetings have been consciously abandoned in favour of screen sharing. Moreover, with refuge collections limited, the amount we throw away has become much more embedded in our minds and our behaviours. Building on our environmental commitments With a clear commitment to carbon reduction already in place, these steps towards improved environmental behaviours will play a role in building on the plans Morson had already put in place to help us achieve our Carbon-2023 goals before COVID-19. Reducing the number of journeys by road is something we had already identified as a major element of furthering carbon reduction goals. As part of our Carbon: 2023 scheme development, we underwent a thorough analysis of our carbon emissions and found that our fleet was the element that ranked the highest within the business. With some 695 commercial vehicles across the UK, we became the first million litre per year user to adopt the Shell Destination: Carbon Neutral fuel card scheme. This scheme sees Shell track fleet consumption and calculate the CO2 emissions associated with this throughout the year. Costing just 1p extra per litre of fuel, the money goes towards the purchase of carbon credits, each one representative of the avoidance of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. Alongside this, we also took the decision to invest in hybrid commercial vehicles and have been looking into electrical vehicle smart charging, which modulates charging to different times of the day. We have identified ‘vehicle to grid’ technology, which enables energy stored in electric vehicles to be fed back into the grid at times of peak demand, as a resource management tool too. Emergent green energy technology will also be a focus for Morson moving forwards, and our intention is to utilise the in-house design engineering capabilities of Waldeck and Morson Projects, whose portfolio of work includes Energy from Waste centres and other renewable means of energy production. Our plans include introducing photovoltaic panels and wind turbines on our head office building in Salford. We’ve also looked into heat source pumps and water conservation initiatives have been investigating other resource reduction programmes, including recycling and automated lighting/water systems. Reaching our Carbon:2023 destination At the moment, the future is hard to predict, but the need to address issues of carbon reduction and climate change will be just as critical as ever. Morson was already on the road to zero and, far from allowing COVID-19 to send us off course, we will leverage what we’ve learned from the pandemic to help us reach our Carbon:2023 destination.Find out more
By Gareth Morris, group director of health, safety, quality and environmental compliance As the Government continues to produce guidance and issue advice on how different industries can offer their workforce a safe return to work, we are encouraging clients to think outside the box. While the pandemic has played out, we have analysed how different sectors have adapted their workplace environments to ensure the safety of their teams and have taken those learnings to see how they might be applied in other areas. What we have seen is that safety critical industries adopted social distancing measures with more ease than it was originally predicted. Now, as office-based teams look to return to their environments, there are a wealth of learnings which can be applied to ensure every individual is safe. However, there are also elements of the stringent guidance being developed for corporate workplaces that could be introduced to ‘essential’ industries – the likes of construction, rail and manufacturing – in a retrospective capacity, to ensure that longer term, every workplace is setting exemplary standards of safety. Safety Critical Environments As the market leaders in rail, we have supported teams across the UK to keep the country’s infrastructure moving even during the novel challenges of the pandemic. In the rail sector specifically, essential workers have taken to mobilising, planning and delivering railway maintenance and refurbishment works overnight with reduced workforces to enable them to social distance. Doing so has kept railways operational, hauling food, PPE, fuel and key workers to their destinations, but has required the immediate implementation of new operating procedures including the speedy deployment of signage to high visibility vests and underground environments to reiterate the importance of maintaining a physical distance apart. However, our in-depth risk assessments of these environments – which must be carried out before workers can return to site – provide food for thought for office-based staff looking for guidance on everything they must consider before declaring their workplace safe. For example, we advise that spaces which have been unoccupied for a number of weeks are deep cleaned ahead of employees returning, as well as developing rules on who is allowed to touch particular pieces of equipment to ensure the virus doesn’t have the potential to pass to other people through hard surfaces. Additionally, we ask managers to consider how social distancing will be maintained in communal spaces that might be restrictive – kitchen facilities, entrance areas, lifts and small meetings rooms, for example – and to have a plan in place if a worker becomes ill on site; how will they be removed from the space as efficiently and safely as possible, and what remedial actions are required? Construction projects also largely rely on site visitors for continuity; and as such, safeguarding comes down to more than team members. Any visitor to site who comes into contact with an infected individual or surface is at risk of taking the virus away to a whole new network of people. Pre-visit visitor checks are recommended to prevent the possible introduction of the virus to a work place. All of this, though largely relevant to on-site workers, should be considered by office managers and directors before suggesting that staff should return to work. The traditional workplace Though many offices have an allocated health and safety advisor, unlike construction sites they are not purely driven by this type of guidance; health and illness related sickness is typically low, and there are very few occasions in which office environments have to overhaul their usual working practices. A pandemic, however, is one of those situations. It will be critical that behaviours change in offices before staff can return to work, but altering the mindset of millions of workers will be the hardest part of this process. As such, it’s crucial that businesses implement a clear and strong communication plan, explaining the changes that are to be made and how they will take effect from day one, rather than being phased in. Doing so will embed safety first, mindful behaviour and seeing the approach enforced from the top down and bottom up will ensure it is applied at every level. Just as safety critical environments consider who is touching machinery, offices should think about communal use of equipment such as printers, shared computers, internal doors and even the often-ignored fixtures of a building such as bannisters, light switches and kettles. While offices are usually densely populated with banks of desks of employees working closely together – a layout now considered completely unsafe in the current climate – as with the rail and engineering industries, employers will have to use novel tactics to ensure staff are socially distanced. This may mean considering which team members can only work from an office and which can continue to work from home, or implementing an alternate office-shift pattern, with cleaners brought in to sanitise an office between each change over. Employers will have to take responsibility for symptom-spotting; we have introduced temperature taking of staff as they enter our offices, and this will likely become commonplace with fixed temperature testing stations. And as we continue to rescale up office environments, just as construction workers are looking to protect on-site visitors, building managers will have to consider how to receive post and deliveries; in shared office spaces, will security teams require PPE?; and how will you risk assess clients coming in for socially distanced meetings? Have we all become safety critical? Across environments, there are permanent fixtures and fittings which must be considered; for example, how will toilet facilities be kept clean in between visits? Are ventilation and air conditioning units serviced to a level that provides reassurance the virus won’t circulate, and how can team members safely take refreshment breaks; where, exactly, will people eat and drink? Our knowledge and presence across multiple sectors is enabling us to take a bird’s eye view of this situation, and how industries can learn from one another to protect their teams. Morson Training, for example, is currently developing a training module advising how businesses can adopt new health and safety practices, while our own health and safety team is available to clients and other businesses to work as consultants to support the return of their teams. Additionally, we have created a basic COVID version of our Fit For Work app; originally developed for the rail industry, it can be used in corporate workplaces to detect symptoms of the Coronavirus. As we move forward and the pandemic continues to take shape, the differences between offices and construction workplaces will start to break down. No longer will the two be disparate; now more than ever before the workplace is about the health and wellbeing of the people within it. For the indeterminable future, every single workplace is safety critical. We believe our ways of working set an industry standard and are examples of best practice; that’s why we make them available to all. Anyone wanting to utilise our roadmaps can contact our group director for health, safety, quality and environmental compliance, Gareth Morris, on email@example.com.Find out more
A Vital worker performed life-saving CPR on a member of the public who collapsed on a train station platform. Dan Stephens, Trespass and Welfare Officer, was called to respond to an emergency on Platform 4 at Southampton Central Station on 5th March. Martin East, 67-year-old father of two, collapsed onto the platform after getting off a train bound for New Milton, Hampshire. “I was patrolling platform 3 when a call came through on the radio that help was needed on platform 4. I rushed over there to find a gentleman had collapsed into the guard’s arms. He’d been put into the recovery position and they told me that they thought he’d had an epileptic fit. But I realised he wasn’t breathing and needed CPR straight away.” As the station supervisor phoned the ambulance, Dan removed the gentleman’s backpack, laid him on his back and checked his airway, pulse and commenced CPR. “I was doing that for a while as we were waiting for the paramedics to turn up. When the fast response unit came down, they asked me to keep performing the CPR until the ambulance crew arrived. They arrived about five minutes later and took over.” Mr East, who had suffered a heart attack, was taken to Southampton General Hospital where he spent three days in intensive care following an emergency stent procedure. He recalls: “I remember nothing from that whatsoever. I have no idea where I collapsed, what time it occurred, or how long I was getting CPR. I had seen a neurologist in London about an unrelated condition prior to my departure for New Milton and he remarked that I was looking fine when he saw me.” After his stay in intensive care, Mr East was transferred to a different ward and eventually discharged two weeks later. During his stay in hospital, he contracted a minor case of Covid-19. “I was told when I returned home that I had contracted the coronavirus which delayed my recovery a little bit. I’m almost back to normal now, both from the heart attack and the virus. I still have a few aches and pains in the rib cage but almost all of the bruising is gone. Thank you seems insufficient to convey my gratitude that Dan had the presence of mind and the confidence to carry out the CPR.” Dan has been CPR trained for almost eight years, though he admitted he hadn’t used his skills in a while. Working in the rail industry for four years, the incident at Southampton Central Station took place during his first week working for Vital. Find out how you can help keep Britain moving in the rail industry by searching our latest jobs with Vital hereFind out more
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released the lowest ever recorded number of workplace fatalities. Between 31st March 2019 and the same date in 2020, the HSE's official figures listed a total of 111 individuals who lost their lives in workplace accidents, a 25% decrease on the 149 fatalities recorded in the 12 months previous. This reflects an overall fatal injury rate of 0.34 deaths per 100,000 in Great Britain, a welcome continuation of the long-term downward trend which has occurred since 1981. The worst year since then was 1988 where the fatality rate was almost 2.5 deaths per 100,000 people. The HSE clarified that the year-on-year fall in fatalities may not reflect a major shift in the inherent dangerousness of workplaces and could have been affected by the COVID19 pandemic which saw a great decrease in work activities in February and March 2020 before the nation was put into lockdown. However, the figures were already on track for a lower annual fatality rate. Following the release, the HSE’s chief executive, Sarah Albon, said: “In these extraordinary times, we have seen many workers risking their lives to help others during the coronavirus outbreak. Although these statistics are not a reflection on Covid-19 related loss of life, it is a pertinent time to reflect. Every workplace fatality is a tragedy and while we are encouraged by this improvement, today’s statistics is a reminder that we cannot become complacent as we look to continue to work together to make Great Britain an even safer place to live and work.” According to the HSE stats, falling from height (29) and being struck by a moving vehicle (20) were the two most common causes of workplace fatalities in 2019/20. The statistics also show a spike in construction fatalities (40) exceeding last year’s total of 31 and the five-year average of 37. Overall, construction deaths account for 36% of the year’s total. The HSE plans to publish data on work-related COVID-19 deaths ‘at a later date’. Gareth Morris, HSQE director at Morson, said: “It is great to see that the number of fatal accidents is falling in the UK. Even pre-pandemic the trend was downwards. We however must remember that each statistic is a loved one lost, a household hurt, and colleagues traumatised. We must never stop striving to eliminate harm at work.” We're committed to making sure all of our employees and contractors work safely and get some safely every single day. Find out more about our Safety Matters app that allows the quick logging of a health and safety concern on-site on in the workplace that goes directly to our HSQE team.Find out more
Written by Gareth Morris, group director of health, safety, quality and environmental compliance In the last month, we have seen the first instances of localised lockdowns introduced, with Leicester, Greater Manchester and Lancashire communities facing stricter restrictions than the rest of the country to stem a new spread of COVID-19. The threat of localised lockdowns has been present ever since the Government lifted the national restrictions implemented because of the pandemic. But the reality for health and safety teams who have already welcomed their workforces back is another wave of complexities, disruption to normal service and a need to reassure workers their personal preferences will be met. Our Group HQ is in Eccles, Greater Manchester, meaning we have been affected by this latest local lockdown. However, we’d had one eye on the chance we could face an overnight change in guidance so had already taken several steps to minimise interference with our operations. And we’re encouraging clients who work in areas that aren’t yet re-locked down to act similarly. Prepare for rapid change We are entering a new period of the pandemic. More localised lockdowns will come along, and as we head toward autumn and winter, they will only become more prevalent. Businesses have got to be ready; Boris’ statement to be ‘alert’ has never been more appropriate. Local lockdowns can come into play overnight, so the key is to prepare for this scenario and run trials to check for any bumps in the road, so you can iron them out before they happen. Implement agile working; ensure your IT systems and infrastructure are ready to handle a mass migration back to home working. Or, if you’re in an area where it’s only social restrictions that are in place, ensure your working environment is set up for daily temperature checks and ongoing sanitisation to reassure those using your space. Cater for mental health The national lockdown has affected every individual, in a very individual way. Many have reported increased mental health concerns as they struggled with the lack of normality and contact with loved ones. Those now experiencing local lockdowns may start to experience similar feelings, and employers must be prepared to cater for this on a person-by-person basis. In areas seeing spikes, particularly anxious people may be concerned about heading to work or using public transport to get there. In such instances, you must reassure your teams that every possible precaution has been made to create a COVID-secure environment. What we experienced during the national lockdown was a desire from many of the team to come back to our premises as soon as possible; some still had reservations, so to satisfy both needs, we undertook fly-through filming of our Manchester HQ to demonstrate the control measures we’d put in place. This included signage and markings, socially distanced workstations and how we would use technology – such as our Fit For Work app – to ensure complete compliance. The video was shared in a company-wide communication to show those who wanted to come back to work that they were safe to do so. Creating this staggered return has, in hindsight, better prepared us for the pinch point now created by the GM local lockdown; planning may be key but sometimes a small action can prove beneficial without you even realising it. Blanket communications Communication has been key throughout the pandemic and continued to be critical as employees were welcomed back to office workspaces. At Morson, our #SpreadJoyNotGerms campaign ran across the business to remind all employees of the importance of building into our culture safe, COVID-secure working practices. There is a duty of care amongst health and safety teams to ensure that all workers are kept abreast of company changes. We’ve shared previous guidance on how frequent you should be speaking with your teams about changes in operation during the pandemic, but when local lockdowns now have the potential to hit your business, it’s time to look at your communications strategy again. The most important thing is to take a blanket approach; and that’s not something you often hear! Whether someone is back in work full-time or remains on furlough, when it comes to health and safety, they must be treated equally. Sharing updates every week has been okay up to now; in the case of a local lockdown – when decisions are made at midnight that have ramifications before the morning comes – communicating more often is absolutely acceptable and should be encouraged. Any uncertainty in your team as to where things stand makes an already stressful scenario even harder to manage. Be clear, be concise, be consistent. The move from national to local lockdown is arguably easier to manage than the bombshell we were all dealt in March, but in both scenarios, businesses rely on the behaviour of individuals to abide by guidance. Humans are sociable beings; we like being in groups and distancing goes against our nature. Local lockdowns are being introduced for the good of our communities so while they come with unique challenges, the best way of ensuring your teams fall in line with rules is to remain transparent at every stage and show you have their best interests at heart. Our office fly through footage can also be shared on request should you wish to view this. The video showcases how we’ve adapted our Manchester HQ to support a safe return to work, including thermal imaging technology and AI to accurately measure the temperature of guests as they enter the building, together with close call reporting via our Safety Matters app and our Fit For Work app, which has been built in partnership with Vencuro and AI specialists facecheck.ai. To find out more, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.orgFind out more
Morson has turned to the Halo Shield to ensure employees are COVID-free when entering the office. The Halo Shield Pod Pro has been installed at Morson Group’s Adamson House head office in Salford. The device scans employees and visitors as they enter the offices, reading and displaying their body temperature. Anyone who has a temperature reading of 37.8 degrees or more will not be allowed access to the buildings in a bid to keep staff safe from the possibility of Covid19. Occasionally, elevated temperature could be down to physical activity or other external conditions, so should a visitor get a high reading they will be asked to repeat it after a brief waiting period. The Halo Shield system has been created by leading security providers RedCCTV and is being installed at businesses across the UK in a variety of sectors as the nation returns to workplaces following the lockdown period. A Pod Lite covers the basement entrance and there are also further Pod Lites covering the Irlam, Southwark and Canning Town branches. The Pod Lites are a smaller version of the device, which is perfect for locations where space is at a premium. Red CCTV Managing Director, Rob Kennedy, said: “The Halo Shield provides employees, suppliers and employees with confidence in the sense that they know everyone within the building had a body temperature in the ‘safe’ zone. The Halo Shield is not a COVID-19 detector, it monitors and measures body temperature and the experts tell us elevated body temperatures are a symptom of COVID-19. But this isn’t just about COVID-19. This will identify anyone with an elevated temperature and that could indicate all sorts of health issues including the common cold, or SARS, or other viruses that could be a risk to others within the building. We believe this will become a longer-term solution for business anyway who simply want to keep their staff, their suppliers and their customers healthy.” Ged Mason OBE, Morson Group CEO, said: “The Morson Group has always placed its people first and their health and well-being is a top priority for us. We are living in uncertain times and we take the threat of COVID-19 extremely seriously, establishing a Covid-19 compliance team to tackle the issue of keeping everyone safe. The emergence of the Halo Shield provided a perfect solution for us and the team at Red CCTV installed and commissioned the equipment across our UK operations. The Halo Shield is non-intrusive and highly accurate, a very smart solution for helping businesses get back to work. It also looks right. We are a modern, forward-thinking business, and some of the body temperature screening systems require tripods wires or handheld monitors and they look clumsy. The Halo Shield, however, is a well thought through, solidly built a modern solution that seamlessly reflects our brand whilst silently doing its job and keeping us safe.” Morson has invested heavily in the bid to protect employees, suppliers and visitors safe from COVID-19. A dedicated ‘Morson COVID-19 Support Hub‘ was set up to offer support and guidance for both employers and employees. Rob Kennedy added: “The Morson Group is a shining example of how to care for your staff. They have always been the same, it’s part of their success, but during a crisis like the recent Covid-19 pandemic, they lead the way. They have installed the Halo Shield Pod Pro and the Halo Shield Lite to ensure that anyone arriving at Adamson House is screened and checked. Only those people that fall within the safe permitted temperature zones are allowed in. The advantage of the Halo Shield Pod Pro is the video screen which allows Morson to display their own key messaging, in this case, their Covid-19 guidance.” To find out more about the Halo Shield and how it could help your business, email email@example.com Alongside the COVID-19 support hub, our Fit for Work and Safety Matters apps are a key part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out how best to manage localised lockdowns from a health and safety perspective.Find out more
The world has become incredibly reliant on electronic and computing technology. With new versions of major devices like smartphones available pretty much every year, the constant quest for the upgrade also comes with a side effect – eventually, the older devices and the components from which they’re made are disposed of. A UN report recently found that over £7.9 billion worth of platinum, gold and other precious metals were dumped every year as part of electronic devices. The UK House of Commons has called this an unsustainable approach to waste and called for immediate action, given that the UK produces more so-called ‘e-waste’ than the EU average. Currently, recyclers in the UK are required to send printed circuit boards to Europe in order to have the precious metals extracted and recycled. With Brexit looming on the horizon, the costs of this are expected to rise. In response to this, it has been announced that the first commercial refinery for extracting precious metals from electronic waste in the UK is to be built in Cheshire. A New Zealand start-up, Mint Innovation, plans to open the facility within 12 months following a period of delays caused by the Covid-19 crisis. It will be the world’s first such facility to use bacteria rather than cyanide-based processes. Mint was set up in 2016 to develop a bio-refinery that combines hydrometallurgy and biotechnology to safely extract metals – including gold, palladium, silver and copper – from e-waste. Ollie Crush, the company’s chief scientific officer, says the key features of its refineries are that they are low-cost, green, and local to where the waste is being created: “The plants are very agricultural, more like a small microbrewery. The regulatory tailwind is for western nations to handle their own waste stream. We offer the same yield as the big smelters, the same level of service and more quickly. But unlike the smelters, we do not use cyanide and we use less energy, less CO2, less water, less waste. A refinery can be popped into any nation, region or city." The Cheshire refinery will initially be able to process 20 tonnes of e-waste per day and, if the demand is there, this can be scaled up. Another plant in the south of England is being considered and a further site is planned for Sydney, Australia. HSQE director at Morson, Gareth Morris, welcomed the refinery: “The UK produces 24.9kg of e-waste per person, 30% higher than the European average, so it is great to see this innovative solution based in the UK to help reduce the UK e-waste.” Find out more about how the Morson Group is working to be a carbon-neutral business and how the coronavirus pandemic may provide a short cut to lower emissionsFind out more