Make health and safety a priority whatever your job title, says Norwich Union

Article date: 4 July 2008

People managing health and safety often have a broad range of responsibilities besides health and safety, according to research by Norwich Union Risk Services (NURS), but it is important to remember that this is a key area of responsibility and should not be undertaken lightly.

In May, NURS asked visitors to Britain's biggest health and safety event - Safety and Health Expo - which person in their organisation had been tasked with managing health and safety and surprisingly there were over forty different job titles.

While 20% of those questioned mentioned their "health and safety manager" the rest came up with titles ranging from "compliance officer", "operations manager" and "human resources director" to "manager occupational hygiene", "head of risk and emergency planning" and "health, safety, environmental, quality and IT manager".

"Whilst this could be interpreted as meaning UK employers don't see health and safety as important enough to warrant the attention of a dedicated person, this may not necessarily be the case," said John Phillips, NURS training and consultancy manager

"To begin with, we found a significant proportion of those managing occupational safety and health were operating at director level. Also, when asked if a member of the board was ultimately responsible for health and safety, only 6% said no.

"It was clear from the study that others were on the path to receiving higher level qualifications, but a significant minority - around 10% - had no health and safety qualifications to speak of."

Recent research commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) found that companies with managers who were poorly trained in health and safety had eight times more accidents at work.*

"Investing in training for anyone with health and safety responsibilities is not only a good way of demonstrating competence to others, but can also reduce injuries or the likelihood of fatalities at work. Our training courses offer tailor-made and short courses to help meet the demands of businesses so becoming qualified need not be time-consuming," said Phillips.

NURS is one of the country's leading providers of health and safety training courses, offering introductory seminars right through to NEBOSH National Diploma level qualifications. Visit (link to www.nurs.co.uk/training/) for more information.

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For further information, please contact:
Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684 225/ 07789 270 677

Notes to editors:

* IOSH survey Oct 2007

About Norwich Union Risk Services
Norwich Union Risk Services is the specialist risk management division of Norwich Union that is dedicated to helping UK businesses manage their risks in an effective way.

They achieve this through their national team of approximately 180 staff which includes:

  • Risk advisers and specialists - Who visit commercial properties across the UK to help identify risks and recommend dynamic and practical risk management solutions for Norwich Union's insured customers.
  • Safety consultants - Who provide expert health, safety and environmental training and consultancy services.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available on the Aviva internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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