Focus

Focus Archive

Lucky for some - opportunities in training and information in occupational safety health and the environment

August 1999
Sheila Pantry, OBE

It is good to see the UK Health and Safety Commission pushing further the need for more training in health and safety. Likewise the National Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the United States, and the various bodies in Australia such as Worksafe Western Australia, and Worksafe Australia. Without training so many people will not appreciate the first steps in risk assessment, let alone all other aspects of good health and safety practices.

Recently, whilst carrying out information training of health and safety practitioners in Cyprus, and embryo health and safety practitioners in Lithuania, I was struck by the fact that for some people access to good quality occupational safety, health and environment guidance and advice and training is not an easy thing.

We have been fortunate, perhaps, that in the UK, in some countries in Europe, and elsewhere such as the USA, health and safety inspection of the workplace has been around for over a hundred years, and in the case of the UK since 1833. Consequently, there have been many opportunities to develop quality information and training. The choice of access is now never ending, because of the use of computers, CD-ROMs, the Internet and other formats to spread the messages.

Perhaps the situation is now bewildering, especially with such an array of information and training opportunities. Deciding what level of information and training is required also present difficulties.

Information services and the health and safety practitioners should work more closely together to ensure even better access to information and training. There are good examples where professional bodies such as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and the British Safety Council, publishers such as Croners and Tolleys in the UK, National City Council in the United States, the National Occupational Health and Safety Council in Australia, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the International Labour Office in Geneva all work relentlessly to ensure that members and others are constantly updated.

We need to take these good examples further to ensure that new entrants to the workplace, new businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, and those starting new jobs are made fully aware of the wonderful range of information and training now even more easily accessible via computers, CD-ROMs and the Internet.

For further details :

1. Health and Safety World's links to health and safety sites, organised by country and by subject.

2. OSH-ROM compact disc containing HSELINE, NIOSHTICS and CISDOC databases, and OSH-CD from SilverPlatter Information's Health and Safety Publishing Group.

The products mentioned in this article are available for a free trial. Why not try these for yourself and check out the contents of these exciting sources of information against your own workplace needs?