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New national research suggests 1 in 10 suspect illegal drug use by workplace colleagues

May 14th, 2018 Comments off

New national research suggests 1 in 10 suspect illegal drug use by workplace colleagues

  • One in five don’t take any action if they suspect a friend, family member or colleague of using illegal drugs
  • Regional variations show that almost twice as many Londoners suspect colleagues of drug use compared to national average
  • Would simple drug tests in the workplace help? New technology enables employers to screen employees using a simple fingerprint sweat test

New research released today suggests that more than one in ten workers across the UK have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs. This figure rises to 24% in London – almost twice the national average, while at 6% those surveyed in the North-East appeared to be far less suspicious of their colleagues.

The research, commissioned by Intelligent Fingerprinting to determine UK attitudes to drug screening in the workplace, also shows that one in five employees took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use. This, despite the fact that 43% of people worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe. Similarly, just under a quarter (22%) have suspected a friend of taking illegal drugs, but again those one in five did nothing about it.

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting commented: “drug misuse has always been a concern when it comes to health & safety in the workplace, however this latest research suggests the issue could be even more widespread than previously thought. It is clear that drug usage not only puts the safety of individual employees at risk, but also contributes to the cumulative workplace accidents that cost the UK some £4 billion every year[1]. It’s particularly an issue in those sectors where drug misuse takes place in safety-critical working environments such as construction, manufacturing, logistics, public transport networks and utilities.”

“What is notable from the research is that colleagues are reluctant to act – perhaps because they do not have the ability to provide proof or evidence that drug usage has actually taken place,” adds Paul Yates. “Employers who do implement a drug and alcohol policy are often frustrated by the practical challenges within their specific workplaces. Operating a traditional drug screening service using urine tests on a construction site, for example, is rather inconvenient. It’s perhaps no surprise that our new fingerprint-based drug screening test – thanks to its portability, ease-of-use and non-invasive approach – is already generating interest from those health & safety managers and occupational health professionals who are responsible for safety in the workplace. It takes only a few seconds to collect a fingerprint sweat sample and screens for multiple drugs of abuse – amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates – in a single test, delivering results in under eight minutes. It’s an ideal platform for spontaneous workplace drug screening and we know that regular random drug screening, combined with an effective drug and alcohol policy, acts as a strong deterrent to drug use in the workplace.”

Interviews are available with Dr Paul Yates, a Director at Intelligent Fingerprinting and Abigail Morakinyo of Health in Check – to find out more information about the research.

Facts and figures from the research and regional breakdown

The research for Intelligent Fingerprinting was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 27/04/2018 and 30/04/2018 amongst a panel resulting in 1,200 respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

National
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
43% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
20% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

East of England
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
46% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
17% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

London
24%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
37% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
21% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

East Midlands
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
18% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

West Midlands
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
13% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

North East
6%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
44% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
11% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

North West
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
29% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Northern Ireland
15%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
50% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
40% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Scotland
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
49% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
22% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

South East
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
22% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

South West
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
45% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
23% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Wales
15%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
39% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
11% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Yorkshire and the Humber
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
45% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
21% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

The Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System consists of a four-panel test cartridge and the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting Reader 1000 analysis instrument. Together these have the potential to be used almost anywhere, any time to support a range of applications including drug rehabilitation programmes, tackling drug use as part of offender management, police initiatives such as roadside testing for drug driving, coroner services, as well as establishing fitness for duty in safety-critical workplaces such as the transport and construction industries.

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Garage, barn, outbuildings, do they increase your property value?

May 9th, 2018 Comments off

Lots of people wonder if a garage, barn, outbuilding increase their property value, and if so, by how much?

 

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Sainsbury’s-Asda merger heralds £600m refit and IT spend

May 2nd, 2018 Comments off

The proposed £13bn mega-merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda is expected to trigger a £600m refit and computer integration programme across the UK store network.

While Sainsbury’s said there would be no store closure programme because of the merger, with both brands to operate side by side, the competition authority is expected to insist on disposals where both retailers predominate in local markets.

Announcing the agreed merger plan today, Sainsbury’s said it saw the opportunity to roll-out its Argos brand in Asda stores as a result of the tie-up, funded by part of the expected £600m business integration capital spending programme.

Sainsbury’s operates over 600 Sainsbury’s supermarkets and more than 800 Sainsbury’s Local convenience stores, as well as over 800 Argos stores, amounting to more than 2,200 locations. Asda operates through a network of 584 grocery stores, 18 standalone petrol filling stations and 33 Asda Living stores.

Asda’s US owner Walmart would receive just under £3bn in cash plus a 42% stake in the combined business, in a deal which values the Leeds-based chain at £7.3bn. Sainsbury’s market value, before trading opened on Monday, was £5.9bn.

David Tyler, chairman of Sainsbury’s, said: “The proposal will bring together two of the most experienced and talented management teams in retail at a time when the industry is undergoing rapid change. We welcome Walmart as a significant shareholder and look forward to working closely with them.”

Roger Burnley, Chief Executive Officer of Asda, said: Asda will continue to be Asda, but by coming together with Sainsbury’s, supported by Walmart, we can further accelerate our existing strategy and make our offer even more compelling and competitive.

From my six years with Asda and ten years with Sainsbury’s, I know first hand that both organisations are fortunate to employ some of the most talented and customer-focused colleagues in this market and I am excited by the opportunity of the two coming together.”

The merger will impact on both retailers’ land banks, which has led to a call for unwanted sites to be set aside for housing.

Dipa Joshi, director at Assael Architecture, said: “The brownfield sites that don’t survive the merger would be extremely well placed to provide new homes and communities, amid a well-documented housing crisis in the UK.

“The majority of the sites have great road connections and are near public transport links, as well as being located on the fringes of key urban locations, making them ideal sites to bring forward for development.”

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Ransomware: how to avoid falling victim to the global threat of malicious malware

April 26th, 2018 Comments off

Ransomware is a growing cyber-threat that finally hit mainstream headlines in 2017, due to the Petya and WannaCry attacks that throttled the NHS and caused huge financial losses for globally-recognised businesses.

The aftermath of the attacks proved the most costly for two of the most high-profile victims of the Petya attack: Merck and Maersk.

US pharmaceutical giant Merck lost over $310million due to the production shutdown caused by the Ransomware virus. Its operations were shut down, employees weren’t even allowed to work, and it estimated $135million of the total cost of the attack was due to lost sales.

Similarly, Maersk, the largest shipping company in the world, attributed a loss of over £210million to Petya as the majority of its 76 ports were shut down. So severe was the attack, the company had to deal with no IT infrastructure whatsoever for 10 days, and manually dealt with arrivals at its ports every 15 minutes.

This infographic from UK IT support company TSG presents some key statistics on the growth of Ransomware, as well as tips on how to avoid falling victim to this omnipresent threat.

 

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York council terminates Interserve Guildhall revamp contract

April 20th, 2018 Comments off

City of York Council is terminating its £9m Guildhall development contract with Interserve.

The two stage contract has been ended after costs came in over budget on the first stage.

The council said: “The first phase has now completed and the council has reflected on the current approach to developing this complex and historic site.

“As a result, the construction phase will not progress and instead, the council will consider options before inviting new bids from the market.”

Interserve was working with SES Engineering Services and hosted a supply chain event late last year to find subcontractors after being awarded the deal last August.

Construction was originally due to start early this year.

Neil Ferris, director of economy and place, City of York Council said: “I can confirm we have terminated our contract with Interserve to develop the Guildhall.

“We set-up the contract following government procurement rules and as such, included a contractual break point after the first stage of the contract.

“We recognised from the start that given the site complexity and risks around the foundation structure, there was always the chance that estimate would be higher than anticipated.

“We structured the procurement in this way to protect York residents from potentially spiralling costs.

“We remain committed to the Guildhall development and are excited about the potential it offers local businesses, communities and visitors.

“Our next steps are to review options to reduce costs, such as revising the scale, scope or access arrangements to the site and we will invite members to confirm their preferred option in May.

“In the meantime, to reduce delays, we will progress less disruptive works, such as fitting new utilities.”

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PSH. forms new leadership team to position business for exponential growth

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

Leading engineering consultancy PSH. has promoted four of its team to director roles as part of a re-structure as the firm lays foundations ahead of its ambitious growth plans for the next five years.

Ian Law and Andrew Haskins have been promoted to directors for the Mechanical team.  Charlie Cross becomes director for Electrical, and Mark Whitfield is now director of Project Management. Photographs of the newly promoted directors can be downloaded here.

PSH, provides specialist mechanical, engineering and plumbing (MEP) services to the real estate and construction industry.  Its current clients include Centrica, Crosstree, Legal & General, GLH Hotels, Marriot International, Cadogan Estates, Quintain and Rockwell. Over the last 15 years PSH. has enjoyed rapid expansion and now includes more than 30 professional members of staff across its offices in London and Wokingham. 

Peter Scholes, Managing Director, PSH. said: “PSH. has an established reputation across the property sector as a highly recommended and trusted MEP building services expert. With the skills and experience of Ian, Andrew, Charlie and Mark behind them, our highly skilled teams will continue to work with some of the biggest players in the real estate sector, across all different areas of the market.”

PSH. has increased its annual turnover year-on-year since launch in 2003 and has ambitious growth plans over the next five years.  The initial stage of this includes establishing a new leadership team with sector and services specialisms.

Peter Scholes, said: “PSH. has worked hard to build an experienced and professional team, with unrivalled market knowledge and sector experience.  We have an excellent track record of repeat business and our client list includes some of the very best names operating in the sector today.  The re-structure will enable us to develop a more agile approach across the company as we grow, giving our clients an even better service.”

PSH. provides full MEP building services, as well as offering sustainability, vertical transportation, BIM, fire services and acoustics advice to developers, consultants and contractors across all sectors of the property and construction industry.

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TSA Members welcome SmartWater’s co-ordinated response to equipment theft

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

A new alliance between The Survey Association (TSA) and SmartWater is leading to detailed analysis and police follow-up on every incident of equipment theft.

A three-year agreement between TSA and SmartWater, sponsored by the leading manufacturers, is the first, co-ordinated response to thieves that persistently target surveyors.

As a direct result of the TSA initiative, SmartWater operatives are sharing incident information with the police and discussing the impact of theft on survey companies with crime prevention officers.

Dave Bennett, Business Manager at Topcon GB & Ireland, commented: ‘’The biggest impact theft has on surveyors is loss of working time and the additional cost of replacing equipment.’’

‘’Collating data around stolen equipment will support affected engineers, as well as elevate the issue within the industry, which is why we back TSA’s initiative with SmartWater,’’ he added.

Incidences of equipment theft routinely halt work schedules, raise concerns about personal safety and security and incur additional costs in replacement and insurance premiums for survey companies.

John Fraser, President, UK & Benelux Hexagon Geosystems said, “Theft in the UK of survey equipment is rife, and Leica Geosystems is working hard on many fronts to provide solutions and support to the industry, so we actively support the TSA initiative of the Smart Water database.’’

Theft data submitted to SmartWater’s Intelligence Portal puts the estimated cost of stolen equipment to TSA Member companies from September 2017 – February 2018 at £1.8 million, an average of £300,000 per month.

Ian Pennington, Geospatial Strategic Key Account Manager at Trimble said, “Theft of survey equipment has become a huge problem for our profession causing tremendous distress to the surveyors involved and significant financial loss to businesses.’’

‘’We fully support this important initiative by TSA to assist their members on crime prevention and equipment recovery measures,’’ he added.

Information submitted through the Intelligence Portal is also used to compile monthly reports for TSA Members, identify crime hotspots, emerging crime trends and possible links to current investigations.

An additional risk rating briefing for Members is issued each quarter, with advice for crime prevention to those likely to be a target.

For further details and to submit information on theft of survey equipment, email TSA office@tsa-uk.org.uk

Non-TSA Members can also report their thefts through the Intelligence Portal to ensure that the whole picture is captured, though only TSA Members will receive SmartWater’s monthly reports and briefings. For more information on TSA www.tsa-uk.org.uk/

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TIMco TO UNVEIL NEW RANGES AND BIGGEST EVER CATALOGUE AT NMBS SHOW

April 4th, 2018 Comments off

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of screws, fasteners, fixings and power tool accessories, are launching their latest and biggest catalogue to date as well as unveiling brand new ranges at the NMBS show at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on the 11th April.

The catalogue will feature 6,500 product lines including an array of new ranges from screw caps and covers to aerosols, wood glues and wood fillers. The largest catalogue to date will also see the extension of existing ranges including the addition of wagon ropes and brick lines to the VETO range as well as a further extension to the new TAURUS range.

During the show, TIMco will also be hosting visitors at their stand with freshly made coffees and an array of refreshments. Customers can take time out at the stand and discuss the new products/ranges by visiting TIMco on stands 265, 266 and 269.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco comments: “The NMBS show is one of our biggest events in the calendar, with a lot of our customers attending the show – making it the perfect place to launch our biggest ever catalogue and see our customers’ feedback first hand. We can’t wait to have a coffee and a chat with visitors about our exciting new product launches and range extensions.”

For more information on the NMBS show or to register for tickets to the show, visit: http://www.nmbs-exhibition.co.uk/register

 

TIMco is headquartered in Nantwich, Cheshire and imports and supplies more than 6,500 product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.  The company was established in 1972 and now employs 137+ members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit www.timco.co.uk.

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MILLIONS TO BE CLAIMED IN TAX REBATES

April 3rd, 2018 Comments off

Workers are being urged to claim back their tax rebates before the deadline passes.

The call comes from tax recovery specialists Brian Alfred who have claimed back more than £36 million for clients in overpaid tax.

According to the firm, around a third of tax payers are due a rebate in the UK and claims can range from £1,500 to £7,300 for people working in the construction industry.

Workers who are either part of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) are all eligible to apply and rebates can be claimed for the last four tax years.

However anyone who fails to put their claim in before April 6th will permanently lose the chance to claim a rebate for the 2013/2014 tax year.

Derek Kelly, CEO, Brian Alfred said: “Each year millions of pounds of hard earned money goes unclaimed. The time is now fast approaching to get your tax rebate claims in, as you can only go back four years at a time, so basically if you haven’t claimed a rebate for the year 2013/14, it’s either do it before April 6th or forever lose the opportunity for that year.

“Whatever your trade or profession, we are here to help you. The tax rebates really can make a difference and it is money that people are entitled to and have worked hard for.”

According to Brian Alfred it’s simple things that people don’t realise they can claim for, from travel expenses to work uniforms to equipment and even food costs. 

Derek added: “You can claim refunds for a range of things, but regulations are complicated, and it can take an expert to get the correct amount of rebate from the HMRC!” 

Brian Alfred is one of the UK’s leading CIS and PAYE tax rebate specialists and has helped thousands of people get their tax rebates, some in as little as 24 hours. 

To find out if you could qualify for a tax rebate visit their free online tax rebate calculator www.brianalfred.co.uk/calculator

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Weston Homes stunned by football club sponsorship snub

March 29th, 2018 Comments off

House builder Weston Homes has been left fuming after its ten-year sponsorship deal with Colchester United has come to a “bitter end”.

The League Two club confirmed its decision not to renew the deal to staff and fans this week.

But Weston Homes claim they were not consulted and have been left baffled by the decision.

A Weston Homes spokesperson said: “It is really sad and shocking the way this partnership has ended, and it has really upset our Chairman and CEO Bob Weston that the club has chosen to end the deal and then abruptly announced their decision publicly without prior consultation with the housebuilder.

Weston Homes has been extremely loyal to Colchester United and supported the club in so many ways over the last decade, so this has been deeply distressing.

“It’s a sad ending to what has otherwise been a fantastic partnership.”

The club’s stadium is named after the house builder who were keen to continue sponsoring Colchester United.

The spokesperson said: “Up until these recent events historically we have had a fantastic partnership with Colchester United and the decade long sponsorship agreement got our brand name partnered with the Stadium and the football club and, as a result, has seen us associated with a range of extremely high profile sporting, music, charity and cultural events.”

Colchester United said: “We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for Weston Homes for their fantastic support over the past ten years.

“It has been a hugely successful partnership over the past decade and is one of the longest in the club’s history.

Weston Homes’ support has allowed Colchester United to establish the stadium as a key community hub and their backing both as title sponsor and at individual events has allowed us to create many special stories together since the venue opened in 2008.”

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