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Friday, 19 February 2010

Friday Guest Blog: Health and Safety at Work

Alex Swift, Regional Director for St John Ambulance’s North West Training Division: We are encouraging local businesses to continue making safety a priority in the workplace after recent statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive revealed a positive decline in the number of major injuries across the North West.

The figures show that 3,281 serious workplace injuries were recorded in the North West last year compared with 3,387 in 2007/8. The number of people suffering from work-related illnesses also fell from 138,000 to 122,000.

We are calling on employers not to get complacent but to make sure precautions for the welfare of their staff remain in place, including doing a full risk assessment, to further reduce the number of workplace accidents. Although the number of injuries has declined, the number of fatalities in the region has remained the same with 22 workers being fatally injured whilst at work.

The reduction in workplace injuries is very good news and it shows that having good health and safety procedures in place can really make a difference. However, there are still too many accidents happening at work in the North West and 22 deaths is 22 too many.

With the new first aid guidance in effect since October, we’re urging employers to carry out a risk assessment to ensure they are complying with the new requirements. Businesses must have all the necessary precautions in place, such as maintaining floor surfaces to avoid trip hazards or ensuring staff that are doing lifting are trained to do so safely. First aid kits are vital as is having enough fully trained first aiders present at all times. First aid can help prevent further injury and can also mean the difference between life and death, so it’s not something that should be taken lightly or neglected. At St John Ambulance, we can advise businesses on their health and safety needs and requirements, so that workplace injury can be reduced and staff welfare no longer put at risk.

St John Ambulance trains 500,000 people in first aid and health and safety each year on courses such as first aid at work, moving and handling and risk assessment. First aid courses are designed to equip workers with the knowledge and confidence to deal with emergencies at work such as treatment of an unconscious casualty, heart attacks, CPR, burns and fractures. Students can also learn to assess risks using the latest training methods and practical mock risk assessments.

For details of courses in your area call 0844 770 4800 or visit

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