Safety Comes First For Dumfries Businesses

Representatives from more than forty Dumfries businesses have taken part in the first of a series of free health and safety events planned to take place across Scotland.

The aim of the event, organised by the Partnership for Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS), was to encourage small businesses to take responsibility for leading on health and safety in their business. They had the opportunity to meet health and safety regulators from Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

As well as learning about the importance of leadership, delegates heard about the services on offer from the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives and the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland.

David Wilson from Hetland Garden Centre also shared his experience of managing health and safety in a small business with an audience drawn from a wide range of industries.

Mr Wilson said: "Small businesses, such as mine, often find it difficult to know where to start with health and safety. They either end up losing sight of the real risks by over-doing it or burying their heads in the sand, putting their staff in danger. It doesn't have to be difficult and there are good sources of free advice and support from the organisations involved. We called on the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives for advice and have really benefited. I hope we have shown people today that good leadership is partly about getting the right support."

PHASS is Scotland's partnership for improving workplace health and safety. Speaking after this first event as Chair, Hugh Robertson, HSE Board member, welcomed the good attendance, he said:

"I'm delighted we were able to show so many firms from the local business community here in Dumfries that good health and safety is not about excessive bureaucracy or costly management systems.

"HSE's and Local Authorities' goal is to customise the approach to increasing numbers of SMEs in different sectors helping them comply with their health and safety obligations. Strong leadership in championing a common-sense approach to health and safety helps people distinguish between real health and safety issues and trivial or ill-informed criticism.

"Although the numbers are small, Dumfries and Galloway has quite a high rate of injury compared to other parts of Scotland. Let's hope today helps reduce it."


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