02/25/2008

Simplicity key to keep small business safe

Small businesses need access to simple 'how to' guides on health and safety to
help dispel the perception that health and safety is burdensome, says Europe's
largest health and safety professional body.

The British Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) also says, in
its response to the Better Regulation Executive's (BRE) 'Improving outcomes
from health and safety' consultation, that good health and safety practices
need to be embedded in the education system.

Ray Hurst, IOSH president, said:

"Unfortunately, it's true that some small firms see health and safety as a
drain on their time and resources, mainly because they mistakenly think it's
all about paperwork and stopping them doing things! To help remedy this, we
believe there should be easy access to simple 'how to' guidance and competent
advice on health and safety.

"This guidance needs to be provided free of charge, and we're calling on the
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to scrap the charges they have on some of
their publications to encourage more small firms to download and use them. IOSH
also provides a variety of free information and user-friendly 'tools' for small
firms, which can be downloaded from our website."

"We need to get the message across about a balanced and sensible approach to
managing risk ­ the benefits of improving health and safety and also the costs,
in financial and human terms, of failing to do so.

"That's why IOSH believes health and safety needs to be included in national,
vocational and professional curriculums. We believe every child should leave
school with a basic knowledge about sensible attitudes to health and safety
that they can apply when they first enter the workplace. This will help small
businesses too, as they will be able to recruit people who already have a
head-start ­ and will mean they focus on providing induction and health and
safety training that are job specific.

"But senior business people and other professionals also need more awareness of
health and safety issues. We believe it should be compulsory for managers,
planners, designers, GPs and teachers to cover relevant health and safety in
their vocational or professional qualifications. We want to make sure the
business leaders of tomorrow know how to look after their staff and themselves
properly, so that UK enterprise can flourish hand-in-hand with good health and
safety standards."

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AplusA-online.de - Source: Institution of Occupational Safety and Health