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October 11, 2011

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Safe maintenance campaign launched in Northern Ireland

The HSENI, together with Northern Ireland’s 26 District Councils, is cracking down on inadequate and poorly-planned maintenance work that can lead to unnecessary deaths, injuries and ill health.

In a new campaign, it aims to encourage employers to carry out safe maintenance and improve their risk-management techniques, with particular emphasis on exposure to asbestos, working at height, and the isolation of machinery.

According to the HSENI’s Annual Report for 2009/10, 30 per cent of all workplace fatalities in Northern Ireland were related to maintenance activities, which can include repairing machinery or plant, often at height, and the use of hazardous chemicals.

The campaign’s message of encouraging safe maintenance practices will be reinforced during inspections by both HSENI and the councils and will be supported by seminars, guidance materials and an interactive online tool.

Welcoming the new campaign, HSENI deputy chief executive Bryan Monson said: “Safe maintenance requires an organisation to have both good leadership and a competent workforce. This is a fundamental and integral element of a healthy and safe system of work in any and every place of work. Good maintenance really does save an organisation time, money and, most importantly, lives.”

Marcus Potts, principal environmental health officer of North Down District Council, added: “We wholeheartedly welcome this joint initiative. Good health and safety management makes good business sense and will deliver long-term benefits to organisations and the economy. In partnership with HSENI, we will continue to promote the message that sensible maintenance risk management will help to protect business profits.”

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