Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lighten the Load: Health & Safety Week 07

Ignore dinosaurs such as Jeremy Clarkson, there is only just over a month before this year’s European Health and Safety week (22nd – 26th October 2007. The campaign is organised by the European Agency for Safety & Health at Work. In Britain the Health and Safety Executive and the TUC (and even the CBI) work together to promote the event.

Every year there is a different theme. In 2007 is called “Lighten the Load” and is about trying to prevent Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This is more usually known as backache and muscular problems. MSD is the most common form of work related illness in the UK and Europe. It affects about a million people in the UK each year and 25% of the population report MSD problems.

On the Wednesday of this week (this year 24 October 2007) the trade unions designate it as “National Inspection Day” and encourage safety reps to carry out workplace health & safety inspections on this day. I’ll go with our caretakers to check out their equipment and have a look at their manual handling assessments. However, many MSD injuries occur in offices, so use this day to review your display screen and work station assessments.

The aim of the week is to raise awareness and encourage prevention. Good health & safety at work is not rocket science, organisations can reduce sickness by working with trade union safety reps. By ensuring ongoing good quality training, meaningful consultation, supporting regular inspections and reviews of risk assessments. Also, proper investigation of incidents when things go wrong and people get hurt.

Photos above of Jeremy being presented with a "custard pie" by HSE Chief Executive, Geoffrey Podger in disguise (not really).

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