An initiative designed to improve health and safety knowledge among students and apprentices and help them apply these skills in the world of work has received two awards at the UK Safety Group Awards.
Held in London last month, the event awarded first and second place to the LOcHER project in two categories – 'Innovation' and 'Education Through Development'.
The LOcHER project is an approach for students and apprentices to identify health and safety risks in their area of study; learn about them and showcase how they can protect their health and safety; and take that experience into the world of work.
It has been rolled out in schools and colleges across the UK and has received strong feedback from students, interns and senior stakeholders in the sector.
Gregor McGhee, the current vice-chair of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Forth and Tay Branch, has worked with a number of interns and apprentices as part of the project.
Through Gregor’s expertise and guidance, they gained valuable knowledge and awareness of risks in the waste management sector.
Gregor said: 'Our project won second prize for both ‘’Innovation’’ and ‘’Education Through Development’’ and was based around the waste management sector. The waste management sector has a high rate of workplace injury and work-related ill health and is a key focus for the HSE. Upon learning about the LOcHER project and its link via the HSE’s strategy of "Helping Great Britain Work Well", I saw this as an ideal opportunity to get our apprentices and interns involved in a business orientated LOcHER project in collaboration with the local college and university.
'The interns and apprentices were given the task of creating a long-lasting legacy to create posters and leaflets based on eight main identified risks within the business. They were also given the task to research the HSE injury/ill-health statistics and this had a remarkable effect as they never realised how dangerous a sector, they were currently working in.
'The LOcHER project has been a very worthwhile project and enhances the requirement to spend time with new and young employees to support, educate and shape their career with risk awareness at the forefront. They are the future, after all.'
As part of the next phase of the project, Gregor will be working closely with six new interns and apprentices split over three UK energy from waste facilities. He also presented the project recently to the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS), which is chaired by the Health and Safety Executive, and will be working with a primary school in Scotland.
Gregor will also be presenting the project during the annual SWITCH conference later this year and at the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) on 30 April.
More information about the LOcHER project is available here.
Learn more about IOSH’s Forth and Tay Branch.