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New software to help SMEs to raise Health and Safety levels

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in collaboration with Royal & Sun Alliance has published Essentials of health and safety Routemap, a computer software package designed to help small businesses improve their health and safety awareness.

Director-General of the HSE, Timothy Walker said, “The Essentials Routemap will assist firms to avoid accidents and ill health at work by helping them identify and control the risks their workers face.”

“Having a health and safety management system which is relevant to the risks or hazards involved helps ensure compliance with health and safety law, and more importantly helps reduce accidents and ill-health. Health and safety failures cost Britain up to £18 billion each year. Workers in small manufacturing firms are more than twice as likely to be killed at work than workers in larger firms in the same sector. The cost of work-related accidents and ill-health to employers is £140 to £300 for each worker employed. These figures speak for themselves and underline the value of Essentials. It costs money – but can help save far more”, he said.

The Essentials Routemap includes a user guide and a copy of the Essentials of Health & Safety at Work handbook, the HSE’s most popular health and safety publication selling 400,000 copes so far.

By using simple question & answer techniques, the easy-to-use software package produces health and safety reports, enabling employers to identify specific health and safety areas for improvement.

The software then takes the user through a process of preparing their own health & safety policy and risk assessment based on known hazards in their own particular business. The software can be completed in as little as one day, or in a number of flexible stages.

Although Essentials is primarily aimed at small to medium sized businesses, it is anticipated that the software will also be used to provide in-house risk teams and large multinationals with a useful health and safety training tool.

Paul Spencer, UK Chief Executive of Royal & Sun Alliance said, “Many small firms have difficulty understanding their legal health and safety requirements and in some instances are unclear about the action they should take.

“Now, small and medium size businesses have a low cost method of determining their health and safety policy needs and reducing their exposure to the high costs and business interruption caused by accidents and illness in the workplace.”

As part of the Revitalising Health & Safety Strategy, launched by the Deputy Prime Minister on June 7 last year, HSE undertook to provide a range of straightforward information products to help small firms develop sector specific health and safety plans. The Essentials Routemap is one example of the new range of user-friendly electronic products HSE is now producing.

The Revitalising Health & Safety Strategy sets new targets for reducing work-related injury and ill health over the next ten years and stresses that businesses must make workers’ health and safety a management priority or face increased penalties and court sentences for health and safety offences.

The Essentials Routemap is available now at HSE Books, HMSO and at high street book stores and retails at £95 + VAT.

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