Dundee City Council developed a project to reduce workplace accidents and improve workplace health, safety and welfare in local businesses. During the planning stages it was agreed to use the HSE’s Estates Excellence model but to modify this approach to make it more attractive to local businesses and improve take-up by keeping time and cost to a minimum while maintaining the integrity of the programme. The initiative was piloted in the West Pitkerro and Baldovie Industrial Estates, chosen due to the compact layout of the estates and the broad mix of businesses located there.
One of the key changes made was to remove the requirement for a workplace visit to identify and profile risk. This decision was made to address potential concerns that such visits would require up to 2 hours of a manager’s or business owner’s time to host them. It was felt that this would deter small businesses from engaging with Estates Excellence or be perceived as enforcement by another name.
In place of most formal structured training courses, awareness raising sessions of 1 hour duration were developed with the needs of the businesses in mind, drawing on local knowledge and intelligence to hand. To achieve positive outcomes in workplace health and safety improvement, the sessions covered Personal Protective Equipment, Display Screen Equipment, Fire Safety, Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health and Manual Handling.
In addition to these, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH’s) accredited Working Safely course was provided by two local training companies and funded by the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives.
The enthusiasm of the planning team and the support of the companies and organisations which provided session facilitators and finance ensured the project gained the momentum to succeed. Michelin Tyre Plc, whose factory is located in the heart of the West Pitkerro Estate and within easy walking distance of the businesses targeted, provided the ideal training venue free of charge.
Estates Excellence in Dundee proved to be a success and this was confirmed by the numerous positive comments received from the companies and the candidates alike. The size of the project team and the tailoring of the Estates Excellence model kept costs to a minimum. Lasting contacts within local companies, emergency services and other agencies have proved invaluable in areas such as the sharing of information, highlighting issues relevant to safety in the workplace and directing workers and businesses alike to Council services and workplace support organisations. The learning outcomes from Dundee’s Estates Excellence project included a review of the approach to future interventions through a better understanding of where Dundee businesses required health and safety support.