Health and Safety Authority launches the Good Practice Awards in conjunction with the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has today launched the Irish leg of the EU Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards with a closing date of 4 June 2021 

This year’s Good Practice Awards is one of the main elements of the current European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load Campaign’ designed to highlight and promote best practice in relation to the prevention and management of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in the workplace.  The awards recognise businesses with an outstanding commitment to occupational safety and health (OSH) and promote practices that protect workers. 

MSDs are conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system and can present in the tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and/or nerves of the limbs and back.  Symptoms may include pain, discomfort, numbness and tingling in the affected area and can differ in severity from mild and periodic to severe, chronic and debilitating conditions. Millions of workers throughout Europe suffer from MSDs and they remain the most common work-related health problem in Europe.  

The HSA welcomes entries from small or large businesses and individuals across Ireland. Previous winners included businesses in manufacturing, construction, hairdressing and the healthcare sector. All entries are judged at national level first, with two winners then being entered into the pan-European competition. Irish winners will be announced later in 2021 with European level winners announced in 2022. 

Frank Power, Ergonomist (Inspector) at the HSA stated, “Musculoskeletal disorders are the most prevalent of all work related injuries in the Irish workplace. The key aim of the awards is to share best practice examples of how organisations manage ergonomic risks (e.g. excessive force, awkward posture) through consultation with workers, risk assessment and the introduction of innovative engineering and/or organisational improvements in the way work is carried out. These best practice examples should highlight how businesses aim to prevent and manage MSDs in the workplace.”

The HSA and EU-OSHA are looking for examples that demonstrate a holistic approach to occupational safety and health (OSH) management, with both employers and employees who are committed to working together to prevent MSDs.

The judging panel will be looking for evidence of:

  • real and demonstrable improvements in safety and health in relation to work-related MSDs;
  • effective participation and the involvement of workers and their representatives;
  • the sustainability of the intervention over time; and
  • transferability to other workplaces (in other Member States, in different sectors and of different sizes)

The Irish leg of the Good Practice Awards is now open and the closing date for entries is 4 June 2021  

Full details including evaluation criteria and the application form can be accessed on the HSA website here.

A guide to managing ergonomic risk in the workplace to improve musculoskeletal Health is available here.

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