Organizers of this year''s European Week for Safety and Health don''t want employers to stress out about it, so they are beginning preparations for the week now, even though it doesn''t start until Oct. 14. The theme of the week will be, you guessed it, stress.
Organized in the UK by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), this annual initiative has become the largest workplace health and safety event in Europe. Thousands of businesses use the week to focus on ways of making their working environment a safer and healthier place. Although the official theme is "Psychosocial Risks: With special focus on stress," participants are welcome to adopt their own theme if it is more appropriate for their workplace.
From the thousands who provided feedback to HSE about their campaigns for last year''s event, 96 were selected to receive regional awards at a series of award presentations this month. From these, 30 have been chosen to receive a prestigious national award at a celebrity-hosted dinner in Edinburgh on March 21.
The campaign for this year''s week gets underway in May, when HSE launches a package of materials consisting of a newsletter, posters, stickers and information sheets to help participants with their plans.
"Each year, an increasing number of organizations are signing up to participate in European Week for Safety and Health. In 2001, we had requests for over 100,000 action packs - nearly double that of the year before," said Peter Rimmer, HSE''s director of information. "Feedback has shown that participants find the week enjoyable and rewarding. I would urge everyone - no matter how small their business - to get involved."
European Week for Health and Safety continues to grow in popularity. More than 105,000 materials kits were requested by employers in the UK in the build-up to last year''s week, which had a theme of prevention of workplace accidents. Some 60,000 kits were requested in 2000 and 10,000 in 1999. All those returning feedback to HSE receive a personalized certificate.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Bilbao) promotes the week throughout Europe and chooses its theme. Member states are free to choose any week in October.
by Sandy Smith ([email protected])