Health and safety assistance for small businesses
This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.
The Estates Excellence scheme brings together local businesses with other organisations including councils to offer free health and safety assessments and training to eligible firms.
It differs from other ‘enforcement-based’ health and safety initiatives in being entirely voluntary, with a strong emphasis on helping small businesses to help themselves.
The Yate scheme takes place during February and March with participants offered free ‘bite-size’ training sessions on a range of health and safety topics, a free occupational health assessment and a month’s free access to the Praxis 42 health and safety e-learning facility.
The scheme is being delivered by partners including the Health & Safety Executive, South Gloucestershire Council, Indesit, Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business, Avon Fire & Rescue and others.
South Gloucestershire Council vice-chairman Cllr Howard Gawler said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy in South Gloucestershire and provide jobs for many local people.
“However due to their size they can find it difficult to recover from the effects of a workplace accident.
“Productivity can drop and in some cases they may close but never re-open, with a loss of jobs for local people and knock-on effects for the whole community.
“So for small businesses in particular, good health and safety makes good business sense. This scheme will give them a helping hand towards the training and information they may need and I hope lots of our local firms will get involved.”
Sodbury Chamber of Commerce chairman Mark Lloyd said: “Sodbury Chamber of Commerce are delighted to support this initiative and to promote greater awareness of good health and safety practices in SMEs.
“Having access to free advice and training can make a real difference to the on-going success of a business and with over 600,000 workplace injuries every year it is vital that we do everything we can to prevent accidents and injury.
“For the small business it makes sense to pay attention to health and safety and it should be regarded as just as important as any other key business objective.”
Chairman of South Gloucestershire Federation of Small Business Paul Neck said: “SMEs put the safety and security of their employees right at the top of their agendas and so any help they can receive to improve workplace safety further will be gratefully received.
“We hope that as a result of this training the small businesses in Yate who will benefit will be able to reduce the danger of workplace accidents and ensure that SMEs don’t have to suffer both the personal and business heartache that can follow when a key employee is off work due to a preventable accident.”
Giuseppe Zichella, Indesit Yate Plant Manager, said: “The Indesit company are one of the largest employers in the area, with our manufacturing site at Yate employing people locally for over 100 years. As such we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to take part in this scheme and to support smaller local businesses by providing access to vital Health and Safety training and support.”
Businesses on the Badminton Road, Stover Road and Great Western Business Park trading estates are eligible to take part in the scheme and will receive a personal invitation from the Estates Excellence team during the coming weeks.
Other partners in the Yate scheme include North Somerset Council, the University of the West of England, Everything Everywhere, Praxis 42, Emergency Response Systems Limited and Jacksons Social Club, Yate.
For more information, firms can email YateEE@Southglos.gov.uk, telephone 01454 863518 or visit www.southglos.gov.uk/estateexcellence
AJM Pet Products, based on Waverley Road in Yate, is one of a number of local small businesses to have felt the benefits of workplace health and safety training.
The company, which employs 10 local staff, supplies pet foods to wholesalers and online customers and operates a busy warehouse. Warehouse manager Darren Jarvis signed up for South Gloucestershire Council’s one-day Health & Safety for Managers course after an assessment visit in 2010 and was delighted with the advice and support he received.
“Health and safety is a high priority for us as a company and we’re very committed to protecting our staff from workplace accidents. Fortunately we have a very good track record in health and safety, which is good for staff and good for our business as a whole.
“The course I took was great because it only lasted a day which meant I didn’t have to take too much time out of work. However it was comprehensive enough to give me a firm grounding in a range of health and safety procedures, including risk assessments and record keeping.
“Since I took the course I’ve revised and updated our health and safety policy and we carry out regular reviews to make sure that we’re following best practice.
“I’d really recommend other small businesses take advantage of this type of training. Few small businesses have a dedicated health and safety officer so it’s really helpful to get a grounding in health and safety and be guided to further information and advice.”
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