Firms evasive on safety

Report reveals variable approach to health and safety by top companies

An independent report has cast doubt on the commitment of top British firms
to safety, despite publicity surrounding rail crashes and the corporate
manslaughter law.

Business information specialist Gee Publishing quizzed FTSE 100 companies
about their approach to health and safety and found commitment was variable and
information was not always available.

High-risk sectors such as mining and chemicals were happy to discuss the
issue, but not one retail firm in the FTSE 100 was prepared to divulge
information on health and safety, said Gee. "This is despite their
constant contact with the general public and the fact that employees in the
retail sector are four times more likely to sustain a major injury at work than
an office-based employee."

Among low-risk sectors, the financial sector came out best, demonstrating
well-established systems and an openness to discuss the issue, with 3i ranking
top. But even among these firms, only four named a board member as the person
with ultimate responsibility for health and safety.

The biggest single issue for office-based work is the use of display screen
equipment and risks of repetitive strain injury and upper limb disorders.

"There is a lack of benchmarking data, largely due to the lack of
published information," said report author Karen Pearson.

www.safety-now.co.uk

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