Biggest risk to Council staff in York?

Aggression and verbal abuse!

A new Health and Safety report which is to be considered next week reveals that there have been 58 cases of verbal abuse or aggression towards York Council staff.

Health and Safety issues reported in York April – Sept 2019

They outnumber the total of all other risks combined which are listed in the report.

The results support other reports which suggest that aggression towards “blue light” services such as firefighters and ambulance workers has been on the increase recently.

A sad reflection on an increasingly divided and confrontational society.

The Last Drop Inn owner fined £44k over trap door fall

Following an investigation by City of York Council, the owners of a popular York pub have pleaded guilty at York Magistrates Court today [25 September] and fined a total £44,622.54 including costs, for failing to address serious health and safety breaches.

On 13 July 2017, a driver who was making a delivery to The Last Drop Inn on Colliergate – owned by York Brewery Co Ltd –  had a serious accident when he fell five feet down an open trap door into a below ground cellar. 

He sustained serious knee injuries including a dislocated right knee, torn medial collateral ligament, torn posterior cruciate ligament, cuts and bruises to his left arm and cuts and bruises to his ribcage, requiring intensive physiotherapy and surgery. 

As a result of his injuries, he was unable to work for three months, unable to drive for six weeks and is still experiencing ongoing shooting pains and discomfort.

York Council finally responds to to flat fire fears

Council reassures tenants of its fire safety approach

Fire exit in York flat block

The York Council has finally said that it will respond to some of the concerns raised following our audit of fire safety last weekend.  It has still not confirmed that it has abandoned its plan to move housing management to an “arms length company – of the type that was complicit in the Grenfell Tower disaster.

It has issued the following statement.

 “Following the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, City of York Council is writing to its tenants and leaseholders living in its blocks of council homes.

The letter explains that the council has no high rise blocks – these are classified as having six or more storeys – and that none of its homes have aluminium composite material (ACM) type cladding which was used at Grenfell Towers. Also, the letter confirms that the council has an ongoing, rolling programme of fire risk assessments in place for all the council’s blocks with communal areas, including sheltered housing, hostels and older person’s accommodation.

The council installs hard-wired smoke detectors in tenants’ homes as part of the rolling Tenants’ Choice modernisation programme, and its gas engineers test detectors when they carry out annual gas service visits.

All sheltered housing schemes, older persons housing and hostels have communal fire alarm systems, and all vulnerable people living in them have personal emergency evacuation plans.

The letter recognises that there is always room for improvement, and that the council is currently developing a new fire safety policy for its housing stock which will reflect the most up-to-date fire safety practice.

As part of this policy work, the council will be reviewing how its existing fire safety procedures are managed across its housing stock. Any areas for development which are found will be dealt with urgently through an improvement plan. This will be overseen by Mary Weastell, the council’s chief executive and will be shared in more detail with all tenants when complete”.

Shared Health and Safety service planned for York and North Yorkshire

HealthSafety-CutbacksA proposal to create a shared Health and Safety service for City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council to help simplify and streamline teams will take a step forwards next week.

If approved at a public meeting on Monday 9 May, York’s Health and Safety (H&S) staff could be seconded to NYCC to deliver services to both councils.

The service is provided by a team of highly qualified and skilled individuals who lead on specialist areas such as fire safety, education, construction and social care.

A recent review highlighted the benefits a shared service could bring to both authorities including sharing good practice, skills and experience, avoiding duplication,  whilst retaining high calibre H&S professionals and maximising and developing both services and practices, through a coherent single structure.

There have already been a number of good examples over the last year which has demonstrated how well each authority has supported each other. This includes introducing a shared Head of service, providing support during periods of unprecedented demand,  joint training on issues such as fire risk assessment, safety of water systems and ensuring play equipment in schools is safe.

The proposals aim to build on this success and include implementing short-term arrangements that would last no more than a year, during which an options paper and business case will be prepared.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment at City of York Council, said: “Nationally councils have found benefits from working together on the provision of specialist services like Health and Safety. It’s important we continue to build on this success with North Yorkshire and York, which can be achieved by integrating our staff with their experience to provide greater capacity for both authorities, greater flexibility to respond to changing priorities, working on joint initiatives and new working methods and by sharing best practice.”