9-year-old saves choking mum’s life using first aid training

A nine-year-old boy from the West Yorkshire town of Bingley has been hailed as a hero after he saved his mother’s life when she started choking, using skills learnt at a first aid training course taken just a few days earlier.

Schoolboy Kayne Holden was having dinner with his little brother and his mother Cherie when she started choking on a piece of food. She describes what happened:

“I started to choke and couldn’t get air from anywhere. I pointed at my back and looked at Kayne.”

Responding remarkably quickly in what must have been a scary situation, the youngster slapped his choking mother between the shoulder blades to try and dislodge the food from her throat. This didn’t work, so Kayne then tried the emergency Heimlich manoeuvre, which he had only just learnt at a first aid training course taken as part of a summer camp.

Cherie was able to cough out the pea she was choking on and made a full recovery. Speaking of the emergency first aid he provided to his mother, Kayne reportedly said:

“If I hadn’t learnt that on Monday, I wouldn’t have a mummy.”

Portishead takeaway owner fined for fire safety breaches

The owner of a takeaway restaurant in the Somerset town of Portishead has been prosecuted and fined after admitting violating fire safety rules and potentially endangering lives.

The Kashmir Indian Tandoori Takeaway was visited by the Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) following a recommendation by the local council’s food safety team, who suspected that the business might be breaching fire safety laws.

The fire service found that owner Abdul Wahid had not carried out a fire safety risk assessment and implemented its findings, which may have included fire safety training for staff. After repeated failed attempts to contact Mr Wahid to ensure the risk assessment had been carried out, AF&RS made the decision to take the case to the North Somerset Courthouse.

Eventually, Mr Wahid was fined £400 and ordered to pay £2,683 in court costs after he pleaded guilty to two breaches of Article 27 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

Commenting on the case, the technical fire safety head for AF&RS, Matt Peskett, said:

“Following the outcome of this case Mr Wahid has been identified as the person responsible for fire safety measures on the premises and we will now be considering our next move in terms of investigating if any fire safety breaches have occurred.

“I would like to remind all business owners and managers that they need to take their fire safety risk assessments seriously and ensure they have taken steps to make sure that the people working, living or using their premises are safe.”

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust broke health and safety laws

At a recent court hearing, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust admitted breaching health and safety rules and failing to ensure the safety of its staff and other persons.

The facts of this particular case have not been released to the public, but it is known that the Trust pleaded guilty in Belfast Crown Court to failures to protect the health and safety of employees in February 2011. There were also other offences relating to the control and management of asbestos at a similar time in 2011.

This is not the first time the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has found itself in court on charges of breaching health and safety laws. Less than six months ago, the Trust was fined £10,000 in charges relating to the improper disposal of asbestos. In this case, three construction workers repairing a floor at Belfast City Hospital were exposed to potentially lethal asbestos back in January 2011.

Anyone attempting to remove or interfere with asbestos, or planning any construction work in buildings known to contain asbestos, are advised to conduct thorough risk assessments and only use contractors who have undergone advanced asbestos awareness training or another relevant health and safety training course.

London restaurant fined nearly £10k for food hygiene breaches

The owner of a takeaway restaurant in North East London has been fined nearly £10,000 after breaching food hygiene laws and repeatedly ignoring improvement notices and warnings.

Problems at the Flavour Chicken restaurant in Havering were uncovered during a routine inspection of the premises by environmental health officers from Havering Council back in January 2012. Following another visit a few months later, the Council made it clear to new owner Mohammed Nazakat that he had to make improvements in the following areas:

• Ensuring food is protected from contamination
• Implementing a written food safety management policy
• Ensuring staff had adequate food safety training
• Putting in adequate hand washing facilities
• Ensuring that staff wear aprons
• Cleaning up storage areas, including walls, floors and kitchen equipment
• Improving lighting

Of particular concern was raw chicken being stored next to cooked food, along with a cleaning cloth found to contain enterobacteriaceae, which can cause food poisoning.

When, after further visits, inspectors found that the required improvements still hadn’t been made, the council made the decision to prosecute. Mr Nazakat was ordered to pay £9,350 in fines and £2,600 in court costs.

Commenting on the case, Councillor Lesley Kelly said:

“It is absolutely disgusting that despite so many visits and advice given by our officers this restaurant owner failed to clean up his act and continued to break the law, putting the health and wellbeing of every person who ate there at risk.”

More than 900 care homes warned over poor standards this year

According to official figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), record numbers of care homes have been given official warnings over standards of care in the last 12 months.

The health watchdog issued over 900 urgent improvement notices to UK care homes over the last year, which is a worrying rise of 43 per cent compared to the 600 notices handed out the year before.

These warnings are issued to care homes in which standards are deemed unacceptable, or where illegal failings are uncovered by CQC inspectors. Amongst the problems which led to this year’s 900 notices being handed out were:

• Staff falsifying medical records
• Failures to investigate allegations of abuse
• Residents left in “extremely dirty” surroundings
• Residents at risk from scalding water
• Call bells not working, forcing elderly residents to have to shout for assistance
• Rooms left unheated during cold months
• Residents missing medication or being given medicine at the wrong times
• A resident suffering a fall after shouting for help to get to the toilet

In many cases, better care training for staff members is obviously required, whilst in others an entire overhaul of policies and practices seems to be the only way to bring standards of cares up to the required level.

Commenting on the latest figures, the Saga Group’s new director general Dr Ros Altmann said:

“We have a crisis in the care home sector, with staff on minimum wage pay delivering minimal care, rather than the decent and dignified care that people deserve”.

Red Cross issues jellyfish first aid advice

After recent reports that increasing numbers of jellyfish have been spotted along the UK coastline, the British Red Cross has issued some vital first aid advice to people who may encounter them.

Many people believe that urine can be the best treatment for a jellyfish sting, helping to alleviate the pain, but the Red Cross and anyone who has ever attended a first aid training course will tell you that this is not true.

Joe Mulligan, the head of first aid at the charity, explains:

“A sting from a jellyfish can be extremely painful, but trying to treat it with urine isn’t going to make your day any better,”

“Urine just doesn’t have the right chemical make-up to solve the problem.”

Instead, the Red Cross is recommending that bathers suffering from a jellyfish sting use seawater, as its salt content can help to ease the pain. Even more effective is vinegar, if you can find some immediately after a jellyfish sting, as the acid it contains will help to neutralise the sting.

It is also important, according to the charity, to get out of the sea immediately following a jellyfish sting, to avoid being stung again.

When were your workplace fire alarms last tested?

Fire alarms and smoke detectors in workplaces must be tested on a regular basis, to make sure that they’re working and importantly, that they will work if a fire breaks out. If you’ve been an employee, manager or even the owner of a company for a long time and you have never heard the fire alarm sound, it might be time for a test to be carried out.

Testing during fire drills

A good way to test the fire alarm system is to carry out a fire drill. This involves setting the fire alarm off and evacuating the building, with all occupants being led and guided by a designated person who has undergone fire marshal training. Everyone will assemble outside, and the business can assess how quick the evacuation was and whether further measures to improve fire escape routes or other measures are needed.

However, a fire drill may only take place once a year or every few months. Your workplace fire alarms should be tested more frequently. Many companies have a designated day of the week or month, recurring every week or month, when fire alarms are tested. This allows staff to be prepared for the sudden noise, and the alarm system to be properly tested without disrupting everyone.

Poorly guarded machines most common cause of food industry accidents

According to FoodManufacture.co.uk, poorly guarded machinery and equipment is one of the most common causes of injuries and accidents within the UK food and drink manufacturing industry.

The website has created its own health and safety timeline for this particular sector, which documents the number of incidents and injuries related to machinery without the proper safety guards within the last year.

Employees within the food and drink manufacturing industry require the right health and safety training in order to use potentially dangerous machinery safely, but they also need proper supervision, as well as guards, emergency stop functions and other safety features to protect them.

The research revealed by FoodManufacture.co.uk also shows that one of the most common outcomes of accidents involving poorly guarded machinery in the last 12 months is the loss of fingers. As well as causing a lot of pain and distress, the loss of even one finger can greatly affect a person’s life, and can even prevent them from being able to work and earn a living.

The head of campaigns and engagement at the British Safety Council (BSC), Matthew Holder, said that many businesses are not learning from past mistakes, explaining:

“We see year in, year out the same causes of injuries and fatalities – the same mistakes again and again.”

£60,000 health and safety fine for Rolls-Royce

The auto manufacturer Rolls-Royce has reportedly been fined £60,000 for breaching health and safety regulations which led to a worker developing Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Rolls-Royce employee Allan Thornewill, 55, who worked at the car company’s plant in the Derby suburb of Sinfin, was responsible for cleaning turbine blades. After prolonged exposure to the vibrations produced by these blades, Mr Thornewill developed Carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition affects many people who work with vibrating tools and machinery and causes a lot of pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), looking into the case, said that Rolls-Royce could have prevented Mr Thornewill developing the syndrome by checking for early signs of damage, carrying out a risk assessment, investing in better health and safety training and limiting the amount of time workers spent using vibrating machinery.

At a hearing, the company was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £18,168 in court costs for breaching health and safety regulations. Following the hearing, HSE inspector Noelle Walker said:

“Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome linked to vibration exposure are preventable.

“However, once the damage is done, it’s permanent with no cure.

“Proper health surveillance is vital to detect and respond to early signs of damage.”

Call to put first aid on Welsh school curriculum

A leading charity has called for first aid training to be included on the curriculum in Welsh schools, in order to give children the skills and knowledge they may need in later years to save lives.

The Red Cross in Wales has a youth strategy which it first launched three years ago, which aims to promote humanitarian values, respond to young people and children in crisis and encourage more young people to train in first aid. Another key area of the strategy aims to provide young people with volunteering opportunities, which can give them confidence and help them in later life.

At present, the charity is focusing its attentions on getting first aid training onto the school curriculum in Wales. Commenting on the latest campaign, the Red Cross’ senior services manager for youth and schools in Wales, Wayne Morgan, said:

“We believe very strongly in first-aid education in trying to get young people to learn those skills for the community,”

“It is a help for young people to have first-aid skills.

“It can develop their confidence – there are young people who have had to save somebody’s life and had the confidence to put someone in the recovery position and been able to act and do something.”