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Raising awareness about safe maintenance in the workplace

Last week the HSE announced the UK’s participation in a Europe-wide campaign to help raise awareness about the importance of safe maintenance in the workplace.

The European Healthy Workplaces Campaign on Safe Maintenance 2010-2011 is being coordinated by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). The HSE is coordinating the UK campaign, along with organisations representing employers, workers and other interested bodies, including the TUC and EEF – the manufacturers’ organisation.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that up to 30% of deaths in the British manufacturing industry result from maintenance activities, with fatalities and major injuries often linked to falls from height, or a failure to properly isolate machinery so that it doesn’t restart during repair work.  The initiative is designed to raise awareness among businesses and their workers, and to help them implement simple precautionary measures to reduce these figures.

In the context of the initiative the term maintenance relates to any procedure undertaken to keep the workplace, its structures, equipment, machines, furniture and facilities operating safely, while also making sure that their condition does not decline.
The UK drive will include a new safe-maintenance section on the HSE website, featuring a checklist to assess how good current maintenance practices are, and offering pointers on how to improve. Free downloadable fact sheets, posters, and information on how organisations can get involved are also available from the HSE.
For more information, visit the HSE Safe Maintenance website at

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