European week for Safety and Health at Work puts spotlight on safe maintenance

editor

The week is part of the Healthy Workplaces campaign, organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its partners across the EU and beyond.

‘The safe maintenance campaign is drawing record levels of involvement with our Europe-wide network of focal points and more than 50 companies and organisations that joined as Official Campaign Partners’, explains Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA. ‘Since April 2010, the campaign has mobilised some 10,000 people though more than a hundred partnership meetings and a series of media activities, to bring safe maintenance to the fore. Benefits for organisations of being a campaign partner include greater employee engagement (43%) and better networking activities (64%)’, she continues.

The European Week will consolidate these activities, with many of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign events focused around this week.

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 September EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, ran a series of Safe Maintenance campaign events in conjunction with the Trades Union Congress (TUC), supported by EU-OSHA. The events provided expert advice on getting to grips with identifying, organising and prioritising safety-critical maintenance.  Many other organisations will run events in and around European Week, some of which are listed on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/safemaintenance/events.htm

HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, said: “Maintenance work can often be seen simply as a disruption to normal service, but it is fundamental to the ongoing safety integrity of every system as well as being a time when special risks need to be managed. All organisations, irrespective of their size and purpose, need to look closely at how they manage maintenance. With good planning and the right skills, it can be done safely and efficiently and lead to increased productivity in the longer term.”

Neglected and poorly maintained machines represent a safety risk to those who operate and maintain them, but they are also an avoidable business risk. These are compelling reasons to get schedules and procedures for necessary maintenance in place.”

“I hope as many organisations as possible, that have not already done so, take the opportunity of European Week to get involved in this campaign.”

The new Safe Maintenance Magazine features articles demonstrating a wide range of maintenance-related issues that impact safety and health in the workplace, including maintenance organisation and planning, risk assessment, human behaviour, chemical safety, design, subcontracting, communication and inspection of personal protective equipment.

A wide variety of campaign material is available in 24 languages to download from the Healthy Workplaces Campaign website http://hw.osha.europa.eu

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