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RoSPA Scotland Congress to hear safety is a moral right

Everyone should be able to work free from the fear of injury or damage to their health, a major RoSPA conference in Glasgow will hear today (September 24).

Danny Carrigan OBE, chair of the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland, will make the call in his keynote address to the RoSPA Scotland Occupational Safety and Health at Work Congress.

More than 240 people were killed and 140,000 seriously injured in reportable accidents at work in Britain in 2006/07. Thirty-one of the deaths happened in Scotland. But Mr Carrigan will tell delegates that an overly-prescriptive approach to the prevention of accidents and ill health is not the way to reduce the figures.

He will say: “The more we allow ourselves to get diverted into a prescriptive approach, the more we risk reinforcing the notion that health and safety is about paperwork, bureaucracy and box-ticking – about doing the bare minimum that we need to do – and not about thinking ahead and getting the job done safely, which is what we are all about in reality.

“I fundamentally believe that a real health and safety culture in any organisation can only happen if the people at the top believe it is the right thing to do – believe that it is right on moral grounds.”

Mr Carrigan, who is a Board Member at the Health and Safety Executive, will call for a sensible approach to risk management.

“Health and safety is not about eliminating the risk altogether, neither is it about putting in place every precaution possible. It is for the leaders, including boards and directors, to think about their organisation and their risks and then put in place measures to deal with those risks.”

And he will urge delegates to work in partnership with each other and with organisations such as RoSPA in order to cut the number of deaths, injuries and cases of ill health in the workplace.

The one-day conference at the Hilton Glasgow hotel, sponsored by Scottish Water Solutions and chaired by Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA Chief Executive, will be attended by representatives of some of the leading public and private sector organisations in Scotland.

Speakers include: Dr Paul Stollard, Director of the Health and Safety Executive in Scotland; Ian Tasker, Assistant Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress; Phil Beaumont, Professor of Employment Relations at the University of Glasgow; and Roger Bibbings, RoSPA Occupational Safety Adviser.

The conference programme can be viewed at www.rospa.com/scotlandcongress/

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