date: Friday 9th May 2003
Attention: Political and Industrial Correspondents
To coincide with the start of North East Focus on Europe Week, the TUC has examined the impact the European Union has had on workplace health and safety in the Region. While Europe has delivered many practical improvements in the area of health and safety at work, a TUC survey of trade union health and safety representatives in the North East and Cumbria suggests better training for employers and employees is needed in order to raise awareness and understanding of EU workplace health and safety regulations.
A majority of respondents (62%) indicated that the implementation of existing safety policies within their workplaces were either average or poor, raising concerns at the current practical application of occupational health and safety in the Region. Recommendations for improving workplace health and safety included: joint training and genuine partnership between management and unions; more training days targeted at raising understanding of EU health and safety regulations; intensive training on specific specialist areas; refresher courses on how EU regulations are transposed into UK law; and all workers to receive initial health and safety training.
Peter OBrien, TUC Regional Policy Officer, said:
While our survey illustrates the important role of the EU in delivering improvements to workplace health and safety in the North East and Cumbria, the findings also reveal the worrying existence of inadequate implementation of workplace health and safety policies across all sectors of the Regional economy. Companies should take a closer look at their health and safety policies. Research has shown that firms working in partnership with unions are twice as likely to provide safe workplace environments for their employees.
Peter OBrien on 0191 232 3175 or 07766 750359
Issued: 9 May, 2003