A range of advice, guidance and training is being offered to small and medium size businesses in Ashford as part of an ‘Estates Excellence’ initiative to help bosses manage risk to their workers and firms, and to reduce the amount of work-related accidents.
Last year (2012 to 2013), 163 people were hurt in work accidents across the Ashford area, with injuries that ranged from broken bones, back injuries, amputated fingers and head injuries caused by slips and trips, falls from height and becoming trapped in machinery.
The ‘Estates Excellence’ (EE) scheme brings together large employers, councils, regulators and other organisations to use their specialist knowledge and expertise to guide small firms and help businesses manage risk effectively, not only improving safety for employees but also enabling employers to benefit from reduced insurance costs and lost working time.
Participating businesses based on industrial estates in Ashford will be visited by specially trained staff to identify the support they need. This includes free training on areas like fire safety, manual handling, risk assessment and working at height.
Businesses will also be able to take advantage of workplace health resources supplied by East Kent NHS, including advice and support on healthy weight, physical activity and smoking cessation.
Improving the health of employees has been shown to improve the way a business runs and makes good commercial sense. Sickness absences and staff turnover are reduced, business become more productive and employee morale and engagement increases.
The EE Partners are drawn from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Ashford Borough Council, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Kent County Council and local businesses on the estates, including regionally-based Veolia waste management.
Station Manager Martin Bowers from Kent Fire & Rescue Service said “It’s wonderful to be involved in this partnership between these different organisations to see how we can support the local businesses with health and safety, fire safety and wellbeing advice. In today’s economic climate, this is an ideal time for businesses to work with the Estates Excellence partners on this exciting opportunity.”
The Estates Excellence team will be visiting businesses at Henwood, Cobswood, Ellingham and Beaver industrial estates from 24 to 28 February to promote the scheme and raise awareness of the specialised support visits and training sessions that they are offering to small and medium size businesses in March.