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Climbing wall to inspire a sensible approach to safety

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents will be offering visitors the chance to scale an eight-metre climbing wall at Europe's biggest annual health and safety exhibition next week.

The climbing wall will be the key feature in a special Myths & Realities area at Safety & Health Expo, which runs at the NEC in Birmingham from Tuesday to Thursday (May 13 to May 15).

More than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend Expo, and the Myths & Realities stand (L90) will challenge their perceptions about what really poses a risk to health and safety and help them understand the difference between sensibly assessing and managing risks and indiscriminately banning activities.

Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA Chief Executive, said: “The ethos behind the climbing wall is that life is for living and that, unless risks are intolerable, good health and safety is about enabling risks to be managed safely, rather than banning activities altogether. This is an important message to share at an event that will be attended by thousands of people who work at the health and safety coalface both in this country and abroad.

“The climbing wall also represents one of RoSPA's key areas of work – leisure safety. Our activities in this sphere are guided by the principles that leisure should be 'as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible' and that people should be able to challenge themselves and take risks on their own terms.

“As an accident prevention charity, our work on leisure safety, plus our activities around road safety, home safety and safety education, set RoSPA apart from other health and safety organisations and we look forward to introducing Expo visitors to what we do.”

In addition to running the climbing wall, RoSPA staff, including from the workplace training, consultancy and auditing, and driver and fleet solutions teams, will be available at stand D30 to help organisations put together effective systems for managing health and safety. The stand will include a bookstore and computers for viewing RoSPA resources, and visitors will have the chance to win a Nintendo Wii or an Apple iPod touch by finding the missing pieces for a giant jigsaw puzzle.

RoSPA is also running three conferences at the NEC: Developing Leadership Action – Delivering on Directors' Health and Safety Responsibilities (May 13); Managing Workplace Transport Risks (May 14); and The Construction Health and Safety Conference 2008 (May 15).

And there will be three days of prestigious RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards ceremonies taking place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, alongside Expo.

See www.rospa.com/nec/ for details of RoSPA's conferences and www.safety-health-expo.co.uk for information about Safety & Health Expo, which will feature more than 350 exhibiting organisations.

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