Occupational safety and health professionals are gathering in Glasgow to hear how the number of deaths and injuries in Scotland’s workplaces can be driven down – during recession and beyond.
The RoSPA Scotland Occupational Safety and Health at Work Congress, which takes place tomorrow, will hear that continued efforts are needed to save lives and reduce injuries and ill health, even when times are tough.
There were 26 fatal injuries in Scottish workplaces in 2008/09, according to provisional figures from the Health and Safety Executive.
RoSPA’s event, called Staying Focused Under Pressure and being held at the Hilton Glasgow, will start with a keynote address by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, cabinet member for health and wellbeing.
Delegates will have the chance to debate one of the key health and safety issues of the moment – whether a stronger regulatory approach is necessary to ensure effective director leadership of accident and ill health prevention.
And although congress has one overarching theme – the need for employers to invest in the protection of workers, even when facing financial pressure – three parallel topic tracks will allow delegates to tailor content to their own needs.
The three topic tracks – health risks at work, managing occupational road risk, and "when the rules aren’t followed" – emphasise different aspects of the same vital message: that effective health and safety management is as important during recession as at any other time.
The conference, which is being sponsored by Scottish Water Solutions, features other top-level speakers including Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive, and Robert Atkinson, development manager from the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives, who will be delivering a down-to-earth guide to at-work health risks.
Dr Karen McDonnell, head of RoSPA Scotland, said: "The effects of recession persist in Scotland, demanding improved efficiency from all organisations.
"Effective occupational safety management has a vital part to play in this – far from being too expensive to consider during recession, it is an exercise in profit-protection.
"It can guard the bottom line when sales and turnover fall by reducing the considerable losses which occur due to easily-preventable accidents and work-related ill health.