Free support and advice to create Excellence in Huntingdonshire

03/03/2014

Despite the myths and misinformation, health and safety in the workplace remains an important issue for employers and workers alike. Sixteen people lost their lives while at work across the East of England in 2012/13 and 1,923 suffered a major injury. 

Those figures are the driving force behind an innovative partnership approach happening this week in Huntingdon, Godmanchester and Alconbury.

Estates Excellence aims to take a proactive approach to working with businesses to offer advice and expertise, and support local companies to minimise the chance of their workforce becoming future statistics.

Small and medium sized businesses in Huntingdon, Godmanchester and Alconbury will be able to take advantage of free health and safety advice and training in a programme of free sessions delivered at local venues between 3rd and 14th March.

The programme starts with an open day on Monday 3rd March  at Alconbury Weald where the focus will be ‘Safer Drivers’. Other topics featured include carrying out risk assessments, workplace fire safety, working at height, forklift trucks/vehicle movements and staff health and wellbeing.

Local businesses such as Xaarjet Ltd, Ken Booth, & Co, Anglian Water and West Anglia Training Association have joined forces with the council’s Environmental Health team, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce to ensure the project is delivered in the best way for businesses. UK Power Networks, Huntingdonshire Regional College, Savills, the Alconbury Enterprise Campus and Huntingdon Community Radio have also lent their support. 

These events provide small and medium sized firms with the opportunity to find out more about their health and safety obligations and the simple measures that can be taken to promote and maintain a safer workplace.

Paul Carter, HM Principal Inspector from the Health and Safety Executive, said:

“Too often we only come to see businesses when an accident has occurred, or when something has been seen to go wrong. So some businesses “dread the knock at the door” from HSE. But at the end of the day, all of us want the same thing: employees able to carry out their jobs safely and efficiently. This event is all about working with business to provide the support they need to ensure we can prevent accidents, illness and issues, and keep Huntingdonshire working safely.”

Councillor Robin Howe, Executive Councillor for Healthy and Active Communities, said:

“I’m pleased that over 30 companies have nominated almost 200 people to attend the programme of free advice sessions. This demonstrates how important it is to support small businesses in this way, and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the project.  It’s a reminder that the health and safety regulators aren’t just there to enforce the law, but are also prepared to help businesses.”

The first day of events was held at Alconbury Enterprise Campus and attended by Huntingdon Mayor Bill Hensley, who learned about safer driving and tested his own braking reactions, before being shown around a Cambridgeshire Fire Service Rescue Unit. The Mayor also experienced the Road Safety Partnership’s collision experience car – which provides noise, movement, video screens and smoke to simulate being involved in a road traffic accident. He said:

“The partnership behind these events and workshops are doing an amazing job: it is so important that we try and prevent more accidents happening. It is great to see partners from the Police, Fire Service, HSE, County and District Council and from local businesses all working together to keep Huntingdon and it’s residents safer. I hope as many people as possible come along to these sessions and hear some of these powerful messages.”

For further advice about the project please contact the team at estates.excellence.huntingdon@hse.gsi.gov.uk