Safe maintenance is top of agenda
26 October 2010
Safe maintenance will be the focus of this year’s European Week for Safety and Health at Work which started on Monday 25th October as hundreds of events - organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its partners - are held in more than 30 countries across Europe.
It is estimated that around a quarter of all manufacturing industry deaths in Britain result from maintenance activity. Maintenance work is central to keeping businesses running so the importance of getting the job done efficiently and safely cannot be underestimated.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in conjunction with EU-OSHA, has a range of information and tools to help any organisation that wants to participate in the initiative, before, during or after European Week. They can be used to highlight the issues to their workforces, clients and contractors in order to increase awareness and understanding, and ultimately reduce the chance of accidents occurring. They are available from the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/safemaintenance
During October and November EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, HSE and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) will run a series of events around England, Scotland and Wales with the support of EU-OSHA. The events will provide expert advice and help as part of the Safe Maintenance campaign.
HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, said: ''Maintenance is fundamental to the integrity of every system, and safe maintenance is fundamenta and integral to a real and effective health and safety system in every workplace.''
''I am delighted to offer my own support and that of HSE to this campaign and I hope as many organisations as possible take the opportunity of European Week to get involved.''
EU-OSHA’s Director Dr. Jukka Takala said with up to one in five of all European workplace accidents being maintenance-related, it is clear that Safe Maintenance is a vital component in the Healthy Workplaces Campaign. “Scientific studies also show that maintenance workers are more prone to occupational diseases and work-related health problems such as asbestosis, cancer, hearing problems, and musculoskeletal disorders,” he said. “For the sake of the health and safety of all workers everywhere, it is essential that we make the most of each opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of safe maintenance throughout Europe.”
The events will equip stakeholders with relevant knowledge on how to get maintenance right – the healthy and safe way. By bringing together government, business and the general public, the importance of safe maintenance will be cemented across sectors and national borders.
Key in this European Week will be the 30 new Official campaign partners - a wide range of companies and associations from the private and public sector, including some of Europe’s most well known companies who have joined forces with the Agency and started to promote good practices in safe maintenance through a variety of activities.
“With such a large range of events being held throughout Europe, everyone is bound to get the message that safe maintenance is key to Healthy Workplaces from the workshop floor to the boardroom,” Dr Takala said.
For more information about the European Week and the activities visit the Healthy Workplaces Campaign website at: http://hw.osha.europa.eu
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