FENLANDER: Health and safety award scheme for businesses gets thumbs up at inaugural forum

A PROPOSED new health and safety awards scheme was given a big thumbs-up by representatives of more than 50 businesses when it was presented at an inaugural Health and Safety Forum organised by Fenland District Council. A wider consultation is now planned prior to a possible launch next year.

Businesses would be awarded gold, silver or bronze awards, depending on how they fared in a routine health and safety inspection at their premises. A similar scheme called Scores on the Doors is already operating for food businesses and has been very successful in encouraging standards to improve.

At the Forum, held at Fenland Hall in March, delegates highlighted the problems of carrying out effective risk assessments and the difficulties caused by the confusing raft of health and safety legislation.

Linda-Jane Rigby of the Health and Safety Executive underlined the importance of businesses ensuring that they have employee liability insurance policies in place to protect employees and the business. Council officers outlined the range of support that they can provide for local businesses.

Opening the forum, Councillor Chris Seaton, FDC’s Open for Business portfolio holder, told the delegates: “We understand the pressures that you face every day, particularly in these hard times and we want to help you as much as possible. Please let us know how we can assist you further.”

Later he said: “I hope everyone gained a great deal from the free advice and information available today and from all the discussion. People often joke about health and safety but it is vital that businesses take it seriously and adopt good, sensible practices. That is good for staff, good for customers and good for business.”

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