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The Minister for the Fire and Rescue Services, Brandon Lewis, has opened a new centre of excellence in fire safety following an investment by leading testing and consulting specialists, Exova Warringtonfire.

The company - part of the global testing group Exova - has added more than

4,000m2 to its showcase

facility in Warrington, Cheshire, providing customers with both increased capacity and expanded testing services.

Brandon Lewis, MP, said: “It is encouraging to see a global business such as Exova committing investment to the highly skilled services for which

the UK is known and which increasingly puts us at the forefront of advancing fire safety worldwide. The confidence that Exova has shown in our economic prospects is to be welcomed, and underlines that we are continuing on a road to growth.”

The extended Warrington facility will house a

significant increase to application preparation areas, focusing on concrete and steel coatings. This will give the site increased capacity, improved customer confidentiality, and improve the scope of testing available. TRAINING SCHEME TO PROTECT POWERED GATE SECTOR

The drive to increase levels of safety of powered automatic gates has taken a step forward, with the introduction of a comprehensive training scheme by the Powered Gate Group of the Door & Hardware Federation (DHF).

The training scheme will be compulsory for all DHF members who install powered gates. It is the latest initiative from the DHF Powered Gate Group, which was set up within the DHF specifically to educate and promote the safe and responsible design,

manufacture and installation of automatic gates. Its formation followed a number of fatal accidents involving powered automatic gates.

Two-day training courses for DHF member employees will be held in September and October, with further courses to be held early

next year. All installers who successfully complete the course will be awarded the DHF Gate Safety Diploma. It is expected a total of 75 delegates will have successfully completed the training courses by early next year. FFI COSTS UK BUSINESSES MORE THAN £2.6MILLION

Bills for more than £2.6million have been handed out to UK businesses by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) since the introduction of new laws last October. The new rules allow the department

to recover the costs of investigating breaches of workplace safety rules.

According to research by Central Insurance, the HSE spent the equivalent of more than 21,500 hours investigating breaches of

health and safety laws in the six months following the introduction of The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 last October.

The legislation puts a duty on the regulator to

reclaim costs from those businesses that are found to be in ‘material breach’ of the health and safety law. Each hour it takes to rectify the breach is charged at the HSE’s standard rate of £124.


Britain’s manufacturers are calling on the government to convene a summit of employers and the medical profession, to agree measures to tackle sickness absence on the back of a major survey. It shows how

employers have lost faith in the government’s flagship ‘fit note’ programme, for getting people back to work.

The 2013 EEF/Westfield Health Sickness Absence survey, the UK’s largest business survey of

sickness absence, suggests improvements in sickness absence seen in recent years have now plateaued, and that further progress will only be made through concerted action to tackle longer-term absence from

work. According to the survey, sickness absence rates have plateaued at 2.2% and 2.3% for 2011, and 2012 respectively, having previously fallen from 3% in 2007. 11

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