Tel: 0121 809 3500

SHIFTing Health & Safety with Record Attendance

A record equalling 91 delegates attended the July 2019 SHIFT forum, which focussed on welding fume and how to handle the risk from exposure to fumes and dust in the workplace. Due to the importance of the topic, CMF opened the event up to non-SHIFT members and several CMF member companies took advantage of the opportunity to attend.

Delegates were treated to a number of informative presentations including a unique opportunity for an open question & answer session with leading personnel from the Health & Safety Executive, HSE, who gave pragmatic and practical advice on managing the risks to exposure to welding fumes. Topics included how and when RPE can actually be the best choice, dealing with maintenance and portable welding fume extractors and the pitfalls with their use. The audience asked plenty of questions and debated the issues on the day, so much so that the session over-ran.  Such was the interest that the results of the Q&A have since been written-up as a report for SHIFT and CMF members.

The event also featured a number of presentations from industry suppliers and experts on risk management.

Mark Scott of RPA Ltd gave an entertaining and illustrated talk about problems with face-fit testing and the issues encountered during visits to companies to help them with their provision and testing of masks.

Zurich Insurance presented advice on the pitfalls of dealing with claims for occupational health conditions, where businesses fail to defend themselves with poor control of records and failures to undertake risk assessments, a big area where the HSE and civil claims win against businesses in court. The importance of an effective disciplinary system being used to defend businesses was stressed and debated.

The Forum also included time to consider the HSEs Operational Plan for the coming year, allowing attendees to understand the priorities for forthcoming visits by inspectors and what they will be expecting to see as good practice.

Richard Heath Prof MICME, Health, Safety & Environment Officer for the Cast Metals Federation, spoke about the areas where HSE inspectors frequently find faults which then lead to foundries being penalised – these are often around inadequate or missing risk assessments, inadequate guarding of machinery and poor health surveillance amongst other issues, he noted.

Richard explained why addressing the key drivers for changing health and safety can be a good thing and how foundries can take the information that is readily available from the HSE’s Operational Plan to develop their own gap analysis and internal audit questioning. This allows foundries to identify gaps and address any shortcomings in advance of HSE visits.

The Cast Metal Federation’s Health & Safety Officer introduces the day

The event was supported by a mini-exhibition with Guardsman Ltd, who are the UK suppliers of a new powered respirator, produced by RPB Safety. Ged Leonard from the company gave an introduction to the equipment, explaining that kits are already widely used in the US, Far East and Australia.

Pam Murrell FICME, CEO of the CMF was delighted with the event saying. “We were very pleased with the attendance and the positive feedback from the event. Clearly a lot of networking took place between delegates and the presenters during the coffee and lunch breaks.

Richard Heath agreed – “SHIFT membership continues to grow. With the on-going expert support from the HSE for the initiative and the work the CMF/SHIFT does to promote good practice in both occupational health and physical safety, the future is looking bright for improving foundry safety in the UK.”


If you are a UK foundry and would like to receive the Q&A from the welding fume discussion, or more information about the SHIFT initiative and how to get involved please contact Richard Heath on 0121 809 3500, or visit the website: