17/01/2002

Safety at work on agenda for small businesses

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is spearheading a provincewide initiative to support small businesses.

Operating in partnership with local District Councils, the Federation of Small Businesses NI, and various safety organisations, HSENI have launched a series of regional workshops specifically aimed at gathering the views of the small business sector.

Facilitated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the workshops will focus on involving small businesses in the creation of naturally safe, healthy workplaces which continue to uphold competitiveness and profitability. Such firms are the growth engine of the local economy, and are responsible for employing over a quarter of a million people throughout the province.

Speaking at the launch of the first workshop – held at Belfast City Hall on 15 January – HSENI Chairperson Liam McBrinn said that he hoped the events would help small businesses “recognise the very real business benefits that effective health and safety management can bring.”

Jim Irvine, Head of HSENI’s Small Business Group continued: “The key message to small companies is essentially a business one which is extremely positive, both in human and economic terms. Businesses themselves can radically reduce the financial and human losses associated with accidents and ill health as part of their normal business activities.”

Further workshops will be taking place throughout the province during January and February in Derry, Craigavon, Enniskillen and Ballymena. (CL)

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