THE official opening of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland's new Information and Advice Centre in Belfast took place on Wednesday, June 27.

Speaking at the launch, Reg Empey Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment said: “Health and Safety at work is a major issue for business and industry throughout Northern Ireland, but it should not be a major headache.”

He said: “Work related injury and ill health costs the economy over £300 million every year. With the opening of the new Centre anyone can now have easy access to health and safety information and advice. It is a significant step towards the realisation of a vision long held by Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI) that what is needed is a multi-faceted approach to ensure that those who most need help, get it."

The Centre's facilities include a comprehensive range of reference materials in electronic and traditional formats and Internet access for research of health and safety information. Advice is also available from duty staff for visiting customers on all aspects of occupational health and safety.

Callers can now also contact HSENI, free of charge, on its freephone Helpline to seek assistance from a Client Adviser on general health and safety queries or from a Duty Inspector, who will be able to deal with more technical queries.

Sir Reg said: "The e-business aspects to the new Centre clearly have enormous potential to increase the flow of information between HSENI and its clients. In particular, the Centre has great potential for helping the small business community which will benefit immensely from the free help and guidance that a facility such as this offers."

Also speaking at the opening of the centre, Liam McBrinn, HSENI's Chairperson, said: "Getting the right information to the right people at the right time is the key. In opening up its building in this way, HSENI is demonstrating its determination to be more accessible to all its customers - employers, employees, trade unions, safety representatives, students and the general public."

HSENI is also about to pilot two regional outlets to the Information and Advice Centre in conjunction with Derry City Council and Craigavon Borough Council. The pilot regional outlets will play an important role in exploring how the information and advice contained in the Centre can be most effectively provided at locations outside of Belfast. (AMcE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 April 2004
Young men’s mental health project wins top award
A project aimed at raising awareness of young men’s mental health has won the top award in a regional competition.
16 March 2020
Other News In Brief
Lidl Introduces Priority Shopping For The Elderly Lidl has announced the implementation of priority shopping hours across all 39 stores in Northern Ireland until further notice. Beginning on Tuesday 17 March, the mornings will run from 9am – 11am every day and will include prioritised queuing and additional assistance for older customers.
04 October 2004
North-South Fire Safety Week launched
A joint north-south Fire Safety Week has been launched today by the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade and the Republic of Ireland’s National Safety Council. ‘Fire, Our Community at Risk’ aims to raise public awareness of fire safety issues, and in particular, the higher risk to the very young and elderly people living alone.
06 October 2003
Ministers launch fire safety week
Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Angela Smith, today jointly launched Fire Safety Week with her counterpart from Dublin, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Minister for Safety.
06 March 2002
Assembly health committee publishes cancer services report
The Northern Ireland Assembly Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee have published their report into cancer services in Northern Ireland.