October deadline for workplace safety

Published:  25 September, 2009

LONDON: Major changes in work place safety requirements take effect on 1 October.

The Health and Safety Executive believes many employers are ill-prepared and could face fines.

Changes, including reclassifying medium sized businesses into low or high risk, means companies many need more trained first-aiders among their employees.

Elaine Leighton, regional marketing manager for St John Ambulance in the South West said: "We strongly recommend that businesses embrace the changes to continue to make our workplaces as safe as possible and ensure that if an accident does happen, they are well prepared.

"We don't know how the HSE will respond to breaches in regulations but businesses should be wary of fines or even charges under the corporate manslaughter act.

Jenny Naylor, human resources manager at Devon-based builders' merchants Rawle Gammon and Baker Holdings, which uses St John Ambulance's first aid training courses said: "It is so important to ensure that people in the workplace know how to react in an emergency. There have been occasions when our staff have had to use their first aid knowledge and we are pleased by the level and scope of training provided by St John Ambulance."

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