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News

Protecting ambulance staff

HSE InfoLine : 11 December, 2003  (Company News)
Ambulance crews are among the most likely public service workers to suffer injury through lifting and handling or as a result of aggression and violence.
This is why the Ambulance Service Association, in partnership with the Department of Health, the Health and Safety Executive and the leading Unions will today launch a UK-wide improvement programme to better manage health and safety risks in ambulance services.

A joint conference, Managing Risk Together, on Thursday 11 December, kicks-off the new programme. The conference will highlight the first two in a series of policy and strategy frameworks to help ambulance services adopt a consistent approach to managing risks. The two frameworks focus on violence and aggression against staff and patient handling practices. The initiative is driven by the ASA's Health, Safety & Risk Committee.

The Association's President, Peter Bradley, says: 'This is a significant step forward for ambulance staff. For a long time ambulance staff have had to face the possibility of injury in the course of their duties and this initiative will help reduce that risk. This issue has a very serious impact on staff and cost implications for ambulance services. This is a positive approach through joint working which we hope all services will adopt to make the working environment for ambulance staff much safer.'

Keynote speaker Bill Callaghan, Chair of the Health and Safety Commission, adds: 'Risks should be managed by a combination of employers, employees and outside agencies working together. The Health and Safety Executive is committed to being a partner in this process with the whole of the NHS, including the ambulance service.'

The frameworks launched today embrace all the recommendations made by a recent National Audit Office report ( HC 623, A Safer Place to Work: Improving the management of health and safety risks to staff in NHS trusts ) and blaze a trail for other parts of the NHS.

At the conference, representatives from throughout the UK's public ambulance service will hear examples of best practice and discuss the way forward in reducing the accidents and violence that ambulance crews face as they go about their life-saving work.
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