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EDUCATION & TRAINING


NO LAUGHING MATTER


Qualifications and training play a crucial role in raising the standards of any business, and Chris James, CEO of WAMITAB, is


here to explain how. You can never be quite sure of the response you will receive when you mention the phrase ‘health and safety’. However, it’s probably safe to say that the ‘default’ response will be a groan and mutterings, fuelled in part by the media, which loves a ‘health and safety gone mad’ story. However, as the HSE’s Myth Busters Challenge Panel regularly reveals, these stories are rarely based on actual legislation.


Highlights of 2014 so far include a store that said it couldn’t test light bulbs because of health and safety, a shop that kept its front door open continually even in the coldest weather to allow wheelchair-user access, a stonemason who was told he could only work designated hours in a cemetery, and a gym that refused to put up shelves in changing rooms because of health


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and safety implications. These sorts of stories can raise a smile and provoke a good-natured discussion, but health and safety in the workplace, is no laughing matter.


The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) uses its Healthy Workplaces campaigns to raise awareness and, since the campaigns began in 2000, various subjects have been highlighted. These have included preventing musculoskeletal disorders, handling dangerous substances, noise issues, safe maintenance, and risk prevention. This year’s campaign, which starts in April, focusses on managing stress and psychosocial risks at work – demonstrating how wide-ranging health and safety issues can be.


HAZARDS AHEAD Slips, trips and working at height often make it to the top of the health and safety list, and for good reason. The HSE report, Slips, trips and falls from height in Great Britain, 2013, gives an overview of falls from height and slipping or tripping injuries that were reported to all Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) enforcing authorities in 2012/13. During this time period:


• Falls from height were the most common cause of fatalities, accounting for almost a third of fatal injuries to workers – 31% (RIDDOR)


• Slips and trips were the most common cause of major injuries to employees, with falls from height the next most common (RIDDOR)


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