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On the way home

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Well, I've done another two month stint in the Bakken oil field in North Dakota - and I'm on my way home for the Christmas holidays.

I can't wait to see Emma - my wife - and my girls again in Australia.

We've got some good fun things planned including a trip to Yalingup in the Southwest of Western Australia.

We'll be having lunch at Wise Winery - our favourite and also at Clarault Winery - another favourite.

I've also got the Ashes test match to go see in Adelaide - starting on 5th December.

Then we're off to Sydney in NSW in the new year to explore that city.

So the holidays are looking pretty good.

Risk of Being Hit by Space Debris

Graham Marshall - Sunday, November 10, 2013

The recent loss of the European Space Agency's Gravity Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) Satellite peaked my interest regarding the relative risk to people from falling space debris.

The GOCE satellite crashed to Earth on the 27th October in 40-50 fragments after its fuel supply ran out.

The 15-metre long satellite, weighing in around 250kgs was originally placed in a low Earth orbit about 160 miles above the Earth's surface.

The satellite was launch in 2009, but the exact location of where it would eventually crash was never known.

Most of the satellite was expected to burn up at an altitude of 50-miles, but at least a quarter of it's mass would survive re-entry and hit the ground over an area of "a few hundred kilometers" - according to France's National Centre for Space Studies.

Apparently, it is estimated that about 100 tonnes of man-made space debris re-enters the Earth's atmosphere from space every year.

Between 20-40 percent of the debris survives re-entry and strikes the Earth's surface.

But in 50-years of human space exploration, no one has been killed or injured by falling space junk.

The relative risk is around 1.5 million times lower than being killed in a domestic accident such as falling down the stairs.

UK HSE Statistics of 2013

Graham Marshall - Monday, November 04, 2013

The latest United Kingdom OHS statistics for 2012 - 2013 have just been published by the UK Health and safety Executive (UK HSE)

The UK HSE statistics includes the following key annual figures:

 

•  148 workers were killed at work during the previous year;
 
•  78,222 injuries to employees were reported. Due to changes in legal reporting requirements it is not possible to compare directly with previous years although statistical analysis suggests a downward trend is continuing;

•  175,000 reportable injuries leading to over-7-day absence occurred;

•  5.2 million working days were lost due to workplace injury.  This figure equates to an average 8.1 days per injury;
 
•  In 2011, there were 2,291 Mesothelioma deaths caused by past exposure to asbestos;

•  The number of Mesothelioma deaths is expected to continue to increase in future years before peaking in 2020;

•  13,503 enforcement notices were issued by the UK HSE and local authorities; a decrease of 15 per cent from the previous year;

•  The UK HSE completed 597 prosecution cases (covering 973 offences) and secured a conviction in  95per cent of cases; and

•  Workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13.8 billion.


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