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All along the life course

   All along the life course

RoSPA aims to promote a ‘whole life’ approach to safety, seeking to assure freedom from serious accidental injury from early years onwards. But to what extent does occupational health and safety (OS&H) support this?

Occupational health and safety is one of the most developed areas of safety in the UK, providing protection for working age people while they are in the workplace (and also for the nearby public).

Good management of health and safety by organisations can help to support safety across all stages of life, not least by being an arena in which people learn about the importance of recognising hazards, assessing risks, and choosing the right preventive/protective measures to stay safe.

In this respect the world of work is a massive school, not just for helping people to work safely but to live, play and travel safely too. And it is via the workplace that much can be and is done to protect the public by ensuring that environments as well as products and services are 'safer by design' as well.

Here are some examples that show how workplace OS&H can and does protect people across all stages of life:

  • Infants: Workplace safety training makes parents more aware of the importance of taking the right precautions in every setting, including to prevent accidents affecting infants and toddlers. Safety information can be distributed and accident prevention specialists invited into the workplace to talk to young parents and grandparents too.
  • Young children: Safety professionals can also go into schools to talk about safety. Businesses that employ parents realise that accidents to children are a source of staff lost time, and also badly affect morale and efficiency.
  • Teenagers: Initiatives like the LOcHER (Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks) project can introduce teenagers to the importance of health and safety as preparation for work:
  • Adults: There are 31.5million adults at work in the UK. By learning about key aspects of health and safety, including at induction into their job roles and throughout their careers, workers develop attitudes, knowledge and skills that enable them not just to stay safe in the workplace but in other contexts too. About 10 per cent of staff absence from work is due to accidental injury (mostly off-the-job), so employers have a strong incentive to provide safety information and training in ways that enable their staff to take key workplace safety messages away with them to help keep themselves and their family members safe in the home, on the road or at leisure.
  • Older people: As with helping parents to care safely for infants, so businesses can also provide 'carry-out' messages, knowledge and skills which those working age people who are also carers can use successfully to keep relatives and other older people safe.

Government, safety organisations, employers and many others need to work more closely to extend the positive effect which workplace health and safety is already having in keeping us all safe and accident free throughout life.

Roger Bibbings, partnerships consultant

Posted: 1/3/2018 2:46:58 PM 0 comments


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