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Have your say in health & safety

29 April 2013

Safety Dialogue - the exciting new zone at the 2013 Health & Safety regional events - will provide visitors with a rare opportunity to network, gain practical advice, and debate topical issues with the industry's leading experts

Safety Dialogue - the exciting new zone at the 2013 Health & Safety regional events - will provide visitors with a rare opportunity to network, gain practical advice, and debate topical issues with the industry's leading experts

New to the 2013 Health & Safety regional events, Safety Dialogue presents two unique concepts for visitor interaction. The zone, which is sponsored by 3M and launches at Health & Safety South, will complement the existing educational programme by hosting a debate on the complexities of face fit testing and the challenges of achieving the correct fit. A panel of thought leaders in respiratory protection will steer discussions and invite the audience to share their views and experiences.

The second aspect of Safety Dialogue will give visitors the chance to meet their local Safety Group and attend an informative workshop on the charity's campaign 'Health Risks at Work', which is aimed at helping small businesses manage common health risks. Safety Groups UK will also be looking for campaign 'champions' from among its members to lead their local group.

Fit-testing panel debate The complexities and confusion surrounding face fit testing are exactly why the organisers have chosen this to be the first subject up for discussion at Safety Dialogue's inaugural panel debate.

If you want to know why so many face pieces are incorrectly fitted, or you have a concern related to RPE selection, then come along and ask the panel of wellrespected experts in respiratory protection. The panellists include: Mike Clayton - Senior Scientist, PPE Team, Engineering & Personal Safety Unit, HSL Alan McArthur - Technical Services Engineer, 3M Personal Safety Frank Angear - General Manager, BSIF (British Safety Industry Federation) Entry is free but spaces are limited. To take part, sign up at www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk but be prepared to participate in the debate: delegates should come armed with questions and a willingness to share their experiences with the panel. The session will begin with an assessment of the audience's knowledge and experience, asking for example 'how many are aware and understand the requirements for fit testing?' and 'what sort of problems do you face that affect compliance?' The panel will move on to review the Fit2Fit RPE Test Providers Accreditation Scheme, which is designed to confirm the competency of any person performing face piece fit testing. The debate will also discuss the application of legislation, clarifying where and when fit testing requirements apply; as well as the current levels of awareness and access to information. Delegates will not only be given the chance to ask questions, but the opportunity to shape policy by providing suggestions for the imminent revision to HSE guidance on fit testing.

As panellist Frank Angear says: "Fit testing is a requirement for those who use respirators at work, but is the information and support needed to ensure it's done and done correctly, readily available and easy to follow? Do you offer an accredited fit testing service to others? You can learn more and influence the manufacturers and regulators at this panel debate."

Learn about Safety Groups UK Safety Groups UK have been a popular presence at previous Health & Safety regional events but 2013 will see this move up a gear as the registered charity occupies the new Safety Dialogue zone.

Established in 1947, the organisation is the co-ordinating body for the network of local Occupational Health and Safety Groups located throughout the UK. Its mission is to ensure that the groups are key players in the UK health and safety system and in the delivery of UK health and safety strategy. Membership of Safety Groups UK is open to all health and safety groups irrespective of their title, so stop by the Safety Dialogue zone to find out more about joining, or even leading your local group as a 'Champion' of the 'Health Risks at Work' initiative.

You can also attend a workshop about the initiative which is being actively promoted across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland following its successful development and piloting in Scotland.

Safety Groups UK is committed to raising awareness of workplace health issues and changing behaviour among small firms, and 'Health Risks at Work' will play a key role in helping to achieve this.

Safety Dialogue will take place at: Health & Safety South on 12-13 March, Sandown Park, Esher; Health & Safety Scotland on 17-18 April, SECC, Glasgow; Health & Safety North on 9-10 October, The Bolton Arena, Bolton