Building safer communities: your views needed!

Safety knowledge is the power to survive, and it doesn’t just start and end at work.

The safety knowledge, values and behaviours that people acquire in the workplace are invaluable in all areas of their life, not just for themselves, but for their families too. Many leading organisations use the workplace to help staff to stay safe, for example, by bringing in outside experts to talk about home safety, fire safety, first aid, safer motorcycling and so on.

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As a safety charity that has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for almost 100 years, RoSPA is keen to help organisations to expand their safety efforts to protect not just their employees, but others in the community with whom they interact.

This got me thinking about how we can get health and safety professionals and organisations to work together more closely to share some of their approaches to spreading the safety message to wider audiences; in particular on their approaches to schools and community safety outreach. It is clear that there is currently a large amount of activity on these lines going on across many different sectors (construction, water, gas, electricity, rail, nuclear, chemicals, to name a few), but much of it is happening largely in isolation. This is why here at RoSPA we would like to create an open forum where companies can showcase their latest community safety work and share ideas.

For example, this year’s winner of the Sir George Earle Trophy Morrison Utilities, which won the highest competitive accolade at the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards, has also received praise for its innovative community safety initiative aimed at primary school children. Jack’s Lucky Escape is a four-minute long DVD animation designed to highlight the dangers of street works’ sites. Teachers were provided with additional learning packs, such as “Spot the Hazard” worksheets to help support ongoing classroom discussion. Not only is this a wonderful example of how the utility sector can work in partnership with its stakeholders to raise awareness of safety among the public, but it also won the company a National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) Award for Communications.

Roger Bibbings

“…safety is a 24/7 challenge and there are major benefits to business and wider society from sharing safety expertise and knowledge with others,” – Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser.

As a safety charity that has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for almost 100 years, RoSPA is keen to help organisations to expand their safety efforts to protect not just their employees, but others in the community with whom they interact. At RoSPA, we promote safety and the prevention of accidents at work, at leisure, on the road, in the home and in schools and colleges. We also play a central role in promoting the work of the LASER Alliance which brings together a range of UK-based organisations and individuals that believe in children and young people “learning about safety by experiencing risk” (from where the acronym “LASER” is drawn).

So how do you feel about encouraging higher performers in health and safety to help us in our bid to build “safer communities”, by sharing safety messages far beyond the workplace? There are many companies out there who are engaging with the public both directly and indirectly, for example, not just via schools and LASER activities, but through a whole range of means including: family safety days, community liaison committees, even road safety messages on the backs of large goods vehicles etc, all based on the premise that safety is a 24/7 challenge and that there are major benefits to business and wider society from sharing safety expertise and knowledge with others.

Let us know what you think and please do leave your comments below, or if you would like further background information or have any other questions, email me at rbibbings@rospa.com.

Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser

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