16 September, 2014

Two wheels good

Last week the UK arm of security giant Securitas took part in a virtual static cycling tour. Twenty two offices took part in the Tour of Securitas, raising funds for RoSPA and awareness of safer cycling.

Emma Isaac and Helen Halls in action.

Emma Isaac and Helen Halls in action.

Our campaigns officer Helen Halls went along to two stages of the Tour. Here she shares her memories of an inspiring week.

With colleagues from Scotland and Northern Ireland reporting back positively from Day One, I knew I would be in for an interesting time when I went along to Securitas’ Birmingham office on Day Three. I also knew I couldn’t let the side down – Colin, Jennifer and Sandy had all hopped on a static bike and added some miles to Belfast and Edinburgh’s total.

I was struck straight away by the amazing atmosphere down at Cuckoo Wharf – and the effort Securitas staff were putting into the Tour. Emma Isaac had been pedalling for an hour and a half when we got there – and didn’t get off until she’d clocked up 35km. Others came and gamely took their turn, tossing money into the big donations bucket. Colleagues popped in to give moral support – and to take the mickey!

I managed a comfortable 7km before handing over to our new road safety manager Nick, a keen cyclist who breezed through his 6km while simultaneously giving an interview!

Phil Thomas and Laura Maddocks.

Phil Thomas and Laura Maddocks.

Day Five saw us at the closing event in Wellingborough, in the same office where Tour plans were first hatched. Despite having been all over the country supporting the event, Tour masterminds Phil and Laura were still full of beans.

Staff here weren’t just cycling – though a steady stream flowed in to take turns on the two bikes. You could also guess the teddy’s name, take a punt on how many wine gums were in a jar and guess the weight of the beautiful Tour cake. And speaking of cake, there were loads of home-baked treats for cyclists to buy to put back the energy they’d burnt off on the bikes.

We left Wellingborough saddle sore but buzzing – and already thinking about what we could do together next year. Thank you Securitas UK – you were amazing!

* There’s still time to support this fantastic fundraiser – click here to donate.

9 September, 2014

A message from your virtual coach

Cycling legend Shane Sutton has sent his support to Securitas UK staff as they do a virtual cycling tour of the UK to raise funds for RoSPA.

Hi Guys,

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for getting involved and increasing awareness in something that is not only relevant to our strategy at British Cycling and Sky Racing of increasing rider participation from all walks of life, but also something that has impacted me personally, which is the safety of our cyclists on the road.

If we are to achieve these goals then we need to ensure that not just cyclists but all road users become aware of the dangers and hopefully make our roads safer for everyone.

Shane Sutton

Shane Sutton

You may be aware that Bradley and I were involved in serious road collisions recently which landed both of us in hospital, which just goes to show that even professional cyclists are not immune to the dangers of our busy roads.

Thankfully Brad went on to win a yellow jersey and I was quickly back on my bike, but it could have easily been a lot more serious. The point is that motorists are on the whole not use to, or aware of, cyclists and the dangers they face on a daily basis and that is why I am delighted and very grateful to you all for giving your time and energy to this great campaign which really will highlight the need for safer cycling on our roads.

I’m sorry that I am not able to attend your virtual tour, as I will be involved in our own tour of Britan, but I will be thinking of you and the great work you are doing.

Aberdeen to Uxbridge is a long ride so there will be some tough times ahead and no doubt some fine saddle sores to compare but remember pain is temporary, achieving your goal lasts forever. Pedal hard and have some fun as you ride.

Good luck to you all and I will be checking on your results.

Shane Sutton OBE (Your virtual Coach!)

1 September, 2014

Back to school – Lifesaving tips for drivers and parents

Ah, September. The smell of diesel fumes hangs heavy in the air, the pavements overflow with sleep-deprived children, while commuters attempt to contort their bodies to squash sardine-like into creaking buses and trains. It can only mean one thing – school’s back! Whether you’re a parent or driver, it’s important that you take extra care on the roads this car_kidsautumn and encourage your children to do the same. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips to make the morning and evening commute that little bit safer!

For parents:

Using the car

• Check that your child is correctly restrained. If you’re planning to carry any extra children make sure that you have the age-appropriate child seat. Please see the RoSPA’s dedicated website – www.childcarseats.org.uk – for more car seats advice.

• Choose a safe place to drop your child off near to the school. Aim for somewhere where you won’t cause congestion and danger to those walking or cycling to school.

• Talk to your children about road safety on your way to school, stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

 Walking to school

• If you are planning to let your child walk to school on their own for    the first time, talk to them about the route they child_handwill use and the  dangers they may encounter. Watch your child so that you can judge whether they have the ability to cross roads safely on their route to school.

• Children learn by watching adults. If walking your child to school, talk to them about how they can keep themselves safe and always try to set a good example when crossing the road.

Cycling to school

Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get to school, especially if a few simple precautions are taken:

• If your child is planning to cycle to school, check that their bike is in good working order. Ensure the brakes work, the tyres are pumped up and the saddle and handlebars are securely tightened.

Family and friends cycling• Plan the route they will take and consider cycling it with them for the first time.

• RoSPA recommends that a helmet be worn at all times.

For drivers:

• Be extra observant and keep a watchful eye for children walking and cycling to school, they might be distracted and excited.

• Reduce your speed where you see lots of children, especially near to schools. If you are driving at 30mph and a child runs out, your stopping distance will be at least 23 metres.

• Rushing causes accidents – give yourself more time for your journey and never be tempted to speed!

For more vital health and safety guides, facts and advice, sign up to SafetyMatters, RoSPA’s free fortnightly newsletter!

Nick Lloyd, RoSPA road safety manager

26 August, 2014

Something that everyone should be a part of

Laura Maddocks, from Securitas’ health and safety team, blogs about what Securitas staff will be doing during September’s ‘Tour of Securitas’ and explains why the security firm is fundraising for RoSPA.

The locations have been mapped out, routes planned and bikes ordered. With the Cycle to Safety Champions fully motivated and networking with colleagues, plans for the forthcoming Health & Safety event, ‘Tour of Securitas’ are well underway.

Tour of Securitas logo finalSecuritas staff can take part in the event directly by signing up to join the cycle team for their local participating office and help them to achieve their target of 90 miles per bike. Those with a competitive streak can have a go at the 500m sprint challenge to be in with a chance of being crowned Sprint King or Queen.

Those who prefer a more sedate approach can still participate in the event by entering the national competitions by completing the ‘Health & Safety Word Search’ or by submitting an entry for the ‘Design a T-shirt’ competition.

Working with our charity partner The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), our aim is to create a focus on health, fitness and safety, and raise awareness for safety, both at work and in the home/ community, combining our shared goal to ensure that all our personnel are not only safe at work but go home at the end of the day to a safe home environment too.

Accidents kill about 14,000 people a year and seriously injure hundreds of thousands more. RoSPA is one of the few national voices speaking out on this issue.

Through its own campaigns and by lobbying the government, RoSPA has been instrumental in changing mindsets and helping to develop new legislation that saves lives.

However, as a charity it relies on the continued support of organisations and who share its mission to protect the country’s most vulnerable.

By taking part in this event Securitas staff’s donations will be help fund RoSPA’s key campaigns and raise awareness of Cycling to Workthe free support they offer on leisure, home, road and occupational safety issues. This could include:

• Free practical support (such as the fitting of life-saving carbon monoxide alarms) to vulnerable families
• Road/Cycle safety campaigns
• Developing a network of voluntary community safety officers.

So I’m urging staff to get onboard, start pedalling and help support their local office to make the ‘Tour of Securitas’ a memorable and rewarding safety week for all.

To find out more about RoSPA, the UK’s family safety charity, visit www.rospa.com

To donate via JustGiving visit www.justgiving.com/Securitas-Securitas2/

8 August, 2014

RoSPA’s top 5 tips to keep your sleeping baby safe

A new baby is the greatest gift imaginable. They bring joy and happiness (not to mention sleepless nights!) to parents, but with this gift comes added pressure.

baby_nappyNew mums and dads will have many questions buzzing around their heads.

Things like where is the safest place for baby to sleep? Should anything be in the cot with baby? What are the risks that babies face when they are asleep?

This blog looks at some of those issues and offers The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ top 5 tips to keep your sleeping baby safe.

 

1. Room temperature

Many parents may be aware that a baby’s room temperature should be regulated at between 16°C and 20°C as one of the key risks they face when going to sleep is “thermal stress”, or overheating.thermometersmaller

Having a basic room thermometer can often help in monitoring this as it is not always obvious to an adult what temperature a baby is comfortable at.

Thermal stress is thought to be one of the factors that can contribute towards Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) with “at risk” babies less able to adapt to changes in temperature.

Keeping a baby on their back with only suitable bedding in the cot is therefore recommended by many charities to avoid overheating. Keeping a baby’s head uncovered is also important as the head helps with temperature regulation.

2. Avoid soft toys and soft bedding in a cot

No soft toys or other products which cocoon your baby in any way are needed in a cot – these can, in fact, cause a hazard.toys

Snuggly and soft are often words used when marketing children’s bedding, but remember babies need ample oxygen all around them for their brains to develop.

Soft pliable bedding can mould around a baby’s face but they won’t know how to remove the bedding for themselves from positions of danger.

Sleeveless sleep sacks are a good choice as they keep a baby warm without the risk of them slipping underneath blankets in the cot.

If using blankets, make the cot up in the feet to foot position to help minimise the risk of your baby being able to slip under the covers.

3. Don’t clutter with extra products

Before adding extra products to a cot, which in themselves can add risk, it is worth remembering that the cot is the only piece of baby equipment designed for babies to be left in unsupervised (as they sleep).

All other equipment, like buggies and high chairs, are used under parental supervision.  As such, modern cots that comply with the latest safety standards are designed to be as safe for babies as possible.

There are a lot of products on the market that purport to protect baby when in the cot.  Cot bumpers, for example, are soft materials that are designed to sit inside the cot and are often attached to the cot bars with ribbons in order to protect babies from injuring themselves against cot bars. They are also marketed as being useful in preventing babies from getting their limbs stuck between bars.

However, cot bumpers may pose other hazards in several ways.  The ribbon can pose a strangulation hazard and this has been linked to at least one death in the UK.

 The bumper itself can be used as a foothold by more agile children to escape the cot, leading to a risk of falling. Also, the material may restrict the amount of oxygen that the child intakes – a process known as “rebreathing”.

The most extreme risk is that cot bumpers could pose a suffocation hazard if a baby rolls over with their face against the cot bumper and is then unable to move.

Nap Nanny_Consumer Product Safety Commission Pic

A Nap Nanny that has been linked to deaths in America.

Another product raising concerns in America is Nap Nanny, which has, sadly, been linked to the deaths of six babies. These products are used to place the baby in a reclined position to sleep and can also be used to “strap” the baby into their crib or on the floor, ensuring that they do not move around when they sleep.

 Some babies have suffocated on the inside of the Nap Nanny while others have partly fallen or hung over the side and been trapped between the product and cot bumpers, leading to suffocation in at least one case.

There is also controversy surrounding sleep positioners – foam wedges that manufacturers claim are suitable for babies to sleep in and aim to keep baby in one fixed position.

Be aware that if a baby manages to turn their body or slip down, then these products also present suffocation, thermal heating and re-breathing risks.  Baby’s face can get stuck against the foam and there have been many baby deaths attributed to these products.

4. Look out for packaging

nappy-sack-posterBe aware of the packaging that these products arrive in.

I have seen some that are supplied in drawstring bags and these present a strangulation risk to a baby. This adds a hazard immediately into the home over and above the product inside the bag.

Nappy sacks – plastic bags to place dirty nappies in – are also a concern.

RoSPA is aware of at least 14 babies in England and Wales that have suffocated or choked to death on this product.

Babies naturally grasp anything and put it in their mouths, so always keep nappy sacks, other plastic bags and wrapping away from babies and buy them on a roll if possible.

 

5. Be aware of blind cords

Finally, RoSPA is aware of at least 28 child deaths caused by blind cords and most of these accidental deaths occur in toddlers aged between 16-months and 36-months-old, so it is something to bear in mind as your baby starts growing.blinds_boy

The main issue that as a toddler start to get mobile their head still weigh proportionately more than their body, compared to adults, and their muscular control is not yet fully developed, which makes them more prone to be unable to free themselves if they become entangled in a cord around their neck.

RoSPA advice is to:

  • move beds, cots, highchairs and playpens away from windows where there are cords and chains
  • make sure all blind cords are always secured out of reach of babies and young children
  • move furniture that children can climb up on away from windows that have cords and chains.

I hope these tips can help you make informed decisions and I’d also recommend visiting The Lullaby Trust website for more detailed safe sleeping advice.

Being a parent is not easy but there is help and guidance all along the way.  The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone and to ENJOY this time as they will be 15-years-old before you know it!

Philip LeShirley, RoSPA Product Safety Adviser

1 August, 2014

1974 and all that

The first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Woolwich London, the final episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus broadcast on BBC 2, Kate Moss and Robbie Williams were born, London Zoo received a gift of giant pandas – Ching-Ching and Chia-Chia – and Teenage Rampage by Sweet was in the charts.

Remember all of this? well, what I wasn’t aware of aged 14 was the death of 10 miners in a methane gas explosion at Golborne Colliery near Wigan Lancashire, the Flixborough disaster that resulted in the death of 28 people in South Humberside, or the advent of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

40 years later, as occupational health and safety policy adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), I have used this pivotal piece of legislation for reference, as a training tool and as a means by which to engage with organisations about the topic of health and safety.

It has stood the test of time and in spite of its critics has provided a framework for improvement in health and safety standards across the UK.

The proportionate, targeted and risk-based approach promulgated by the act,

Karen McDonnell

Karen McDonnell

associated guidance and codes of practice, has resulted in a significant downturn in the number of people killed, seriously injured or developing life-limiting conditions as a consequence of poor working conditions.

An overall reduction from 651 fatalities in 1974 to 148 (employees and self employed) in the year 2012/13, real evidence that the approach set out by Lord Robens has worked for UK plc, performance improvement that is envied across the world.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act has held its own at the heart of the health and safety system, offering a core set of principles that can be universally applied. Competent health and safety practitioners and campaigning organisations such as RoSPA hold these principles dear and recognise the contribution that the act has made in saving lives and reducing injuries to workers across the UK.

Karen McDonnell, RoSPA’s occupational health and safety policy adviser

21 July, 2014

Your holiday checklist – don’t forget to pack the carbon monoxide alarm.

Swimming costume – check. Sun lotion – check. Inflatable lilo – check.

Your holiday packing is almost complete but you’ve got that nagging feeling that there is something missing from your suitcase.

Go safe and enjoy your holidays

Go safe and enjoy your holidays

Well, if you are heading off to a holiday apartment, cottage, caravan or even boat, you have most likely forgotten to pack one small item that could make all the difference to your long-awaited vacation – a carbon monoxide (CO) detector.

At The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), we recommend that people take a small, portable CO detector with them whether they are going home or abroad to prevent tragedies that we have sadly seen many times before.

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it, meaning its deadly fumes can act without families even realising it, often through the night while they are asleep.

The problem is that fumes can be caused by a faulty or badly-serviced gas and other fossil fuel-burning appliance, whether it’s a heater, gas stove, generator or even barbecue in an enclosed space.

Follow our tips for a happy, safe family holiday

Follow our tips for a happy, safe family holiday

Seven-year-old Christianna Shepherd and her six-year-old brother Robert, from Wakefield in West Yorkshire, died from carbon monoxide poisoning during a holiday in Corfu after a faulty boiler leaked gas into the hotel bungalow where they were staying in October 2006.

Last year, an Easter boating holiday turned into tragedy when 36-year-old mum Kelly Webster and her 10-year-old daughter Laura Thornton died after inhaling CO fumes as they slept on a moored motor cruiser on Lake Windermere in the Lake District. Investigators found that fumes from a generator, whose improvised exhaust and silencer system had become detached, had spread into the cabin.

So, when you get to your holiday home, here are three simple tips to remember:

  1. Take a portable CO detector to check for any signs of the dangerous gas – these can be bought for just a few pounds from most DIY stores but are priceless in terms of the lives they can save
  2. Make sure the premises are well ventilated and never use a barbecue inside
  3. Be aware of the symptoms and dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

RoSPA’s carbon monoxide safety website has more details on CO symptoms but the main signs to look out for include:

  • suffering prolonged flu-like symptoms – headaches, nausea, breathlessness or dizziness
  • the boiler pilot light flames burning orange, instead of blue
  • sooty stains on or near appliances
  • excessive condensation in the room

    Spot the signs of CO poisoning

    Spot the signs of CO poisoning

Just knowing a few of the signs to look out for will already have equipped you with some useful knowledge. This RoSPA video, below, highlights why being aware of carbon monoxide is so important.

 

I’m sure you will have a lovely break and I’ll leave you to get on with that packing. Oh, and remember, when summer is over, it will be time to arrange for that all important Autumn service to your boiler at home.

Alison Brinkworth, RoSPA public health support officer.

 

15 July, 2014

When you suffer a tragedy in your life surely you would want to help others?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m Joy Edwards, and in October 2010 both mine and my family’s lives changed forever.  On this morning my son, who was 8, walked into the twins’ bedroom and discovered his baby sister Leah entangled in a looped blind cord.

I ran into the bedroom, raised my daughter to try and slacken the cord and untangled her.  The ambulance was called and paramedics soon arrived and took over CPR on Leah.

The ambulance and paramedics took our little girl and we followed after in a police car.  When we arrived at the hospital I knew straight away the news was not good as there was a security man outside the room. Watching too many Casualty and Holby City programmes you learn the procedure.

Leah was so cold and the colour had already started to drain from her tiny face.  I willed her to wake up; she was never a very good sleeper and all I wanted her to do now was wake up so I could take her home to her siblings and twin brother.  The hardest thing I have ever had to do is tell her brothers and sister that she wasn’t coming home.

Our last photo of our daughter was in the September when she had her first ice cream. It’s a photograph we will treasure.

After her death I decided that it would not be in vain and was determined to raise awareness about the dangers of looped blind cords.

When ROSPA called and asked whether I would help with their campaign, I agreed without hesitation – well, wouldn’t you? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ROSPA is a charity which relies on fundraising and charitable donations to raise awareness and prevent accidents.  Without donations they would not have been able to give away thousands of free cleats and safety packs to raise awareness and educate families on the dangers of blind cords.

They also campaign on risks around the home and the dangers of not wearing seat belts in vehicles, to name just a couple of things.

Accidents occur on a daily basis and many can be avoided.  Through raising awareness I hope the number of accidents can be reduced dramatically.

When I received a phone call to say I had been nominated for an award I was out walking and I felt like I had a huge grin across my face.  All I thought of was “I am just a parent. Yes we had a terrible tragedy, but an award? Surely anyone in the same situation would do the same.”

When I start something I tend to carry on to the end. Even though new blind standards and regulations have been brought into force for manufacturers and fitters to adhere to, there is still more to do. Parents and grandparents who already have blinds in their homes still need to be educated on the dangers.

Joy AwardI was honoured on June 17 to be given the Archangel Award and was amazed at the standing ovation I received.

This is my first award and it has pride of place in our living room. Each time I look at it, opposite there is a photo of Leah smiling. I would like to think that she was proud too and that her death has prevented other families from going through the same heartache.

8 July, 2014

Breakdown dramas for the “slow” kings of the open road

Part two of Roger Bibbings’ story of the “East to West Slowly” challenge.

Roger, our "easy rider" is pictured on the right.

Roger, our “easy rider” is pictured on the right.

The party started out promptly at 8.30am from the foot of the giant wind turbine named Gulliver at Ness Point, in Lowestoft, on Saturday, June 21, seen off by the Mayor, Councillor Roger Belham, himself a former motorcyclist.

The route ran past Bungay towards Diss and Thetford and out towards Huntingdon. A coffee stop at pub in the Cambridgeshire village of Wicken led to a conversation with the landlady who revealed that her son had been run over on the drive when he was three, although remarkably he had not been seriously hurt (driveway accidents are clearly more common than is realised).

After skirting Northampton, the riders made their way by lanes to Banbury and then towards Stow-on-the-Wold, stopping briefly to see the solstice celebrations at the Rollright Stones.

Following an overnight stop in and around Malvern the group headed off west the next day, stopping for a hearty breakfast at the Buttley Tea rooms at Winforton near Hay.

The LE, which had been unused for the best part of 30 years but was carefully recommissioned for the trip by John Bradshaw, performed well on the way out to Lowestoft and over to Malvern. But approaching Brecon its ancient electrical system suddenly cried “enough!”

After nearly two hours of fruitless fault finding the decision was reached that the three remaining bikes should press on to the finish, taking a scenic route over the Black Mountain to Carmarthen but thereafter sticking to the A40 to make up time.Roger Bibbings 2_E2WS_2014 smaller

Approaching Haverfordwest they were met by about a dozen riders from the Pembrokeshire Vintage and Classic Motorcycle club, who had heard about the ride. They kindly escorted the three MZ machines on the final leg to meet the mayoral party at 5.30pm. Speeches were made and photos taken, including by the local press.

Phil Speakman then rode straight back to Liverpool, while the other two riders and Phillip Thwaites enjoyed the culinary delights of St Davids.

The next day was not without its dramas. Peter Henshaw’s MZ 250 expired on the way home with an obscure short circuit high up on the Black Mountain. With no mobile phone contact up there, the last remaining machine, the trusty little 150 MZ, with only 10 horsepower, had to be pressed into service to take a rider and pillion plus luggage (combined weight more than 30stone) to civilisation to summon recovery.

All in all, though, it was a great adventure undertaken in glorious sunshine.

The appeal for RoSPA’s Driveway Safety Campaign is ongoing. And plans are afoot for another “slow” motorcycle challenge in 2015.

1 July, 2014

East to West (eventually)

Roger Bibbings shares the story of an incredible fundraising road trip, ‘East to West Slowly’.

With minutes to spare, but still travelling at a steady 35–40mph, three motorcyclists on vintage two-stroke machines wound their way along the Pembrokeshire coast road to a rendezvous with the Mayor of St David’s.

Roger Bibbings_E2WS_2014 smaller This was the culmination of a two-day ride across Britain from Lowestoft to St Justinian’s lifeboat station at the most westerly tip of Wales to raise money for RoSPA’s Driveway Safety campaign.

At least 29 children have been killed on, or near, the driveways of their homes since 2001. Sadly, in most cases, an adult member of the child’s family, a neighbour or a visitor was driving the vehicle. The campaign raises awareness of simple measures that drivers can take to prevent such tragedies.

Building on the similar ‘End to End Slowly’ trip last year from Land’s End to John O’Groats, the ride was held on June 21 (the longest day) and 22.

It attracted six riders, although in the end only three, journalist Peter Henshaw, MZ spares guru Phil Speakman and myself, the organiser, made it to meet the mayor, Councillor David Halse, who came in a wartime BSA sidecar driven by fellow councillor Malcolm Gray. Councillor Halse kindly presented a cheque of £50 on behalf of St David’s City Council.

Participants were on small vintage motorcycles. The party included two early 1970s East German MZ 250s, two MZRoger Bibbings 4_E2WS_2014 smaller 150s and a late 1960s LE Velocette ridden by retired university lecturer and motoring writer, John Bradshaw. Ian McGregor, who was recovering from a recent heart operation, decided to follow in his camper van.

The idea behind making the ride a ‘slow’ challenge was to savour the pleasure that is to be had from travelling slowly on two wheels using minor roads as much as possible. You see, smell and remember so much more.

And the route offered a fascinating series of vistas, from the flatlands of the Fens to the high sandstone peaks of South Wales.

Unfortunately, Phillip Thwaites had to withdraw after his MZ 150 developed main bearing trouble. Gallantly, though, he limped home and got out his BMW 850 GS to meet the finishers in St David’s. But his was not to be the only mechanical drama…

You can find out about the ride itself next week. In the meantime, you can still donate to the campaign here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 89 other followers

%d bloggers like this: