General Update 

COVID-19 UPDATE 

The Delta Variant is still causing concerns, but it would appear that cases are slowing in certain areas, which the overall view and opinion appears to agree with the removal of the mandatory restrictions applied during the pandemic.

There is the follow up 'booster' jab programme for the over 50's supported by the 'flu jab which is rolling out which is felt will avert another lock-down scenario

 RETURNING TO 'NORMAL'

 A large majority of  all Industries seem to be struggling with supplies, where items like , Cement, timber, plastic products, polymers  and building products in short supply with lead times being as much as 12 weeks from order.

Many reasons are emerging with major World Powers buying up global stocks of existing supplies in an attempt to control the markets 

The general consensus is that , manufacturer is at an all time high with the focus on ensuring that all products and materials will be available and have prices also return to what was normal prior to the pandemic.

Additionally - the supply problem appears to be compounded by the fact that as people have not been able to 'get away' on holidays, they are spending disposable income on home improvements and general 'refurbishment'

This in our area alone appears to put the entire building industry under immense demand, that for some building skill sets, the demand cannot be met.

 GENERAL and INDUSTRY RELATED SAFETY  and ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATES

The rail industry has been notified that the Railway Safety and Standards Board will be taking the RISQS audit process ‘In-house’ as of August 3rd, 2021

RISQS have decided that it is not in your (our Buyer and Supplier Members’) best interests and may contribute to uncertainty due to contracting arrangements during the roll out of the Williams – Shapps Plan. RSSB clearly need to remove as much uncertainty now in the interests of providing a safer railway. RSSB can now confirm that the decision has been taken to not extend the current contract with Capita beyond Tuesday 3rd August 2021. RSSB is in conversation with Capita to ensure smooth transition.

The current process is intended to improve the overall delivery and development of RISQS and safety in general in the industry and is designed to build on the good work done with Capita over the years

Achilles have now launched their new Rail Compliance and assurance scheme with the ‘blessing’ of the RSSB and Network Rail. They are also approved under the Sentinel Scheme and therefore there are no issues if you decided to change from RISQ to Achilles for your compliance certification body.

Currently, Achilles cannot audit the Drugs and Alcohol, Medicals and POS elements of the scheme, and that is looking to be likely early next year.

Achilles are using the current RICCL code process and therefore if you were to change, you will be audited against the same regime.

Fit testing face masks to avoid transmission during the coronavirus outbreak

The HSE has provided guidance on how to conduct Face Fit Testing while still maintaining social distancing.

The guidance can be found at:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/ppe-face-masks/face-mask-ppe-rpe.htm?utm_source=hse.gov.uk&utm_medium=refferal&utm_campaign=coronavirus&utm_term=rpe&utm_content=news-page

 

Spot Inspections

All companies should be aware of the HSE’s inspection program to ensure the workplace is COVID Secure.

The increase in outbreaks in Swindon and Manchester has led the HSE to target these areas.

Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put in place workplace adjustments to manage the risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus. Businesses can do this by following five practical steps:

Step 1. carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Step 2. develop increased cleaning, hand washing and hygiene procedures

Step 3. take all reasonable steps to help people work from home

Step 4. maintain 2m social distancing where possible

Step 5. where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk.

 

Environment

 

Discussions of the growing plastic waste problem often focus on reducing the volume of single-use plastic packaging items such as bags, bottles, tubs, and films.  A recent study shows that two-thirds of the plastic put into use was used for other purposes, including electronics, furniture, and home furnishings, building construction, automobiles, and various consumer products. The UK Government has ambitions and targets to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042. By 2050 achieve zero avoidable waste.

Even though Government restrictions and guidelines are being removed,  it may still be prudent to take personal responsibility and continue with the process of: