Associations join forces

Published:  15 September, 2010

Companies and associations from the private and public sector, including some of Europe's most well known companies, have joined forces with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) in the new Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/11 on safe maintenance. 

A wide range of pan-European and international organisations have come together for EU-OSHA"s Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2010/2011 on safe maintenance in a bid to reduce work-related accidents. The campaign, which builds on the achievements of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2008/09 on risk assessment, aims to raise awareness of proper workplace maintenance. Good practices in safe maintenance will be promoted through a variety of campaign activities including conferences, seminars and training sessions for workers, employees and other stakeholders involved in maintenance work. 

Dr Jukka Takala, director of EU-OSHA commented: "It is estimated that in Europe up to 20% of all workplace accidents are connected with maintenance and in a number of sectors over half of all accidents are maintenance-related. 10-15% of fatal accidents at work can be attributed to maintenance operations. Therefore, it is vital that maintenance is carried out properly, taking into consideration workers’ safety and health. EU-OSHA’s campaign partners will play an invaluable role through actively communicating the importance of safe maintenance in the workplace.” 

The campaign partners will help put safe maintenance on the agenda at both the European and national levels through their own campaigning events and communication networks. Knowledge and experience sharing will be at the heart of the campaign and ensure that organisations reap the operational and  economic benefits of safer maintenance. Across the EU, campaign partners will facilitate discussion on safe maintenance and its importance in minimising workplace hazards. For example, workshops will be organised that are targeted across industries as diverse as agriculture, construction and the chemical industry - traditionally seen as high-risk sectors where employees face greater risks to their health on a day-to-day basis. 

In the UK the EEF, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the TUC are joining forces to run a series of events around Britain to provide expert advice and help as part of the European Safe Maintenance Campaign.

At the events, Health and Safety experts from EEF, HSE and the trade unions will help managers get to grips with key topics, including management of asbestos, isolating machinery and selecting contractors.

Steve Pointer, EEF’s head of Health and Safety Policy said: “The fact that maintenance is not directly part of the manufacturing process means that it is all too easy to forget when thinking about health and safety. But everyone has to carry out maintenance in one form or another and it can present some serious risks. That is why we are working together to help manufacturers manage maintenance risks.”

Geoff Cox, head of HSE’s Manufacturing Sector said: “HSE is very pleased to see EEF organising these events, and we will be actively supporting them. For many manufacturing businesses the potential risks around maintenance activities may be the greatest occupational health and safety risks your employees face. Taking half a day to get yourself up to speed on these issues, or to reassure yourself that you aren't overlooking anything significant, should be seen as a really valuable business investment.”

EU-OSHA is continuing to sign up official campaign partners during the course of the Healthy Workplaces campaign. For more information about the campaign partners and the activities they will be hosting in your region visit the Healthy Workplaces Campaign Website at: osha.europa.eu/en/campaigns/hw2010/partners/eu-partners

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