Safety Groups UK encourages small companies to focus on workplace health risks during European safety week

The UK national network of safety groups is motivating small businesses to take action against dangerous workplace risks as part of European Week for Safety and Health at Work.
 
Small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) are being targeted in a move by Safety Groups UK (SGUK) to promote practical advice that can prevent accidents and ill health at work.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has organised this week’s promotion, which is the largest awareness-raising event of its kind aimed at improving conditions in workplaces across the continent.

Safety Group UK’s Health risks at work: do you know yours? campaign aims to help local businesses understand five sources of risk to health and well-being, and fits in perfectly with this year’s European theme of working together for risk prevention.

Roger Bibbings, occupational safety adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and secretary of Safety Groups UK, said: “Safety groups are Britain’s best kept health and safety secret and when it comes to working together on risk prevention, they spread important messages for free, direct to employers.

“Small businesses can be particularly disrupted when a member of staff is injured or made ill at work, but health and safety professionals that make up Safety Groups UK explain to these companies the few preventive steps they can take to stop people being injured.

“European Week for Safety and Health at Work is all about raising awareness of important issues that affect workplaces right across the continent and Safety Groups UK is at the heart of that.”

Workplace risks for small businesses include noise, hazardous working environments and lifting. Workplace injuries caused by lifting, carrying and other handling activities alone lead to 2.6 million working days being lost every year in the UK, costing the economy £1.5billion.

Over the past eight years, Britain has achieved one of the lowest rates of accidental fatal injuries to workers in leading European industrial nations, according to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures, partly due to improved health and safety management.

Overall, 148 workers died at workplaces, plus 90 members of the public, between April 2012 and March 2013, compared with 172 in the previous year. The overall rate dropped to 0.5 per 100,000 workers, below the five-year average of 0.6, according to provisional figures released in the summer.

RoSPA provides the secretariat for Safety Groups UK, which is made up of around 70 local groups that each consist of health and safety professionals who give up their free time to share information and work with firms in their community. Further information about Safety Groups UK’s local groups can be found at www.safetygroupsuk.org.uk.



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