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Issue Date:- 10 November 2008

Safety package for A56

THE Highways Agency is to provide a £50,000 package of important safety improvements along the A56 in Lancashire.

The programme features a series of targeted improvements to the route which links the M66 with the M65. This has been developed after consultation with Lancashire Police and Lancashire County Council, as well as in response to comments from members of the public.

The Agency has been working to improve safety for pedestrians, drivers and other road users along the road which has single and dual carriageway sections and serves the Haslingden and Accrington areas.

An original suggestion to reduce the speed limit from the national speed limit to 50 mph across the whole route has now been amended in favour of providing safety improvements, including new 50 mph speed restrictions, at specific, targeted road sections.

The package of measures includes:-

* A new 2.2km, 50mph speed restriction through the Bent Gate Junction to tackle a local accident problem around the A682 junction

* A new 1.1km, 50mph restriction in the vicinity of the A680 Blackburn Road (Rising Bridge)

* A ban on U-turns at the Sandy Lane and Higher Hey junctions.

* Retention of the national speed limit along all other sections of the route

The accident figures are higher than average at these locations along the A56 and that is why these areas are being targeted

The timescale for implementation of the measures is before the end of December 2008. 

The idea of targeted measures is not unusual. Elsewhere in the region the important A556 link road between the M56 and M6 in Cheshire employs a number of safety measures including different speed limits.

Amy Williams, Highways Agency Route Performance Manager, said:- "We have worked very closely with Lancashire Police and Lancashire County Council over this major programme of safety measures for the A56. We have also responded to public concern about the idea of a blanket 50mph speed restriction across the route.  We feel this package of measures with just two short 50 mph sections will meet our objective of improving the safety of road users in the area while helping to keep drivers safely on the move. Drivers can make their own contribution to safety in the area by sticking to the speed limits and other restrictions"

Fundraising Event

WHAT: Quiz Night

WHERE: RAFA Club, Victoria Road, Freshfield, Formby

WHEN: Friday 21st November 2008

COST: £5 per person

A Quiz Night is being held at the RAFA Club, Club Victoria Road, Formby on Friday 21st November 2008.

Doors open at 7pm and the Quiz commences at 7.30pm prompt. Tickets cost £5 each available from Colette McMenamin on 07968287492 or Pritchards Book Shop on 01704 875765.

All funds raised will be donated to the Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital’s Merseybeat Appeal for research into heart disease.

Report warns employers about cost of ignoring bullies at work

BULLYING in the workplace is still too high and employers in the North West are accused of failing to tackle the issue effectively according to a report published last week. The study, published by the Chartered Management Institute, suggests that poor management skills lie at the heart of the problem and warns organisations in the North West to educate their staff or risk long-term damage to business performance.

Against a backdrop of Government figures estimating that workplace bullying costs the UK economy £13.75 billion, with 100 million days productivity lost, per year the new report also argues that employers in the region are failing in their legal duty to protect staff.

‘Bullying at work: the experience of managers’
is based on the views of managers and leaders across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Key findings include:-

- 70% of managers claim to have witnessed instances of bullying in the past 3 years

- incidents are not just ‘top down’, with 61% of respondents in the North West observing bullying between peers and 39% witnessing subordinates bullying their manager

- of those experiencing bullying in the region, 33% report that no action was taken by their organisation

The Institute’s latest study draws comparisons with a similar report published in 2005. On a 5-point scale, individuals gave their employer a score of 2.37 when asked the extent of bullying in their organisation – up from 2.25, 3 years ago. Those in the public sector, particularly, have seen the highest level of bullying (2.60).

Asked to identify the root causes of bullying at work in the North West the top answer given was a ‘lack of management skills’ (71%). Respondents also cited ‘personality clashes’ (55%) and ‘authoritarian management styles’ (60%) as critical factors. However, in a particular indictment of employers’ inability to deal with the problem, ‘lack of management skills’ has risen from 66% in 2005 and the ‘failure to address previous incidents’ increased by 1 point, to 38%.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs, at the Chartered Management Institute, says:- “In the current economic climate the pressure to deliver is more acute than ever, but the need to perform should not be seen as an excuse to bully. Now, more than ever, the ability of the UK’s managers and leaders to set a good example is paramount. Without strong but fair leadership, how can working environments be productive and how can employers hope to motivate staff in what are already trying times.”

The report shows that almost half of respondents in the North West are concerned about their employer’s inability to deal with the problem. 27% in the region feel that their organisation is ineffective when it comes to deterring bullying. A further 20% in the North West argue that their employer fails to deal with specific incidents.

However, there is some good news. Although action is not yet at an acceptable level, employers are beginning to understand the need to take a stand against bullying behaviour.

In 2005 just 55%of organisations had a formal bullying policy – a figure that has risen to 79% in the North West, this year. Where policies exist, 65% say their organisation deters bullying well (compared to just 44% of those with no policy). 

Asked what makes a policy effective, 82% suggested ‘training from the point of induction’. A similar proportion (80%) focused on the need to define bullying and 45% favoured awareness training.

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