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EHOs to monitor safety

Environmental health officers (EHOs) in Peterborough are undertaking a pilot scheme that sees them take responsibility for monitoring safety issues in workshops and bodyshops.

The work has traditionally been done by inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive. But if successful, the one-year pilot will be rolled out across the UK, resulting in all repairers being inspected by their local authority’s EHOs instead.

“We already manage health and safety issues in tyre and exhaust outlets, so it seemed logical for us to cover the whole motor vehicle repair sector to avoid duplication,” says Katherine Evans, Peterborough City Council’s environmental health officer, who prompted the trial.

After a period of training and shadowing colleagues from the HSE, Evans’ colleagues sent questionnaires and leaflets to 200 garages in the Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, area. The team has now started inspecting premises. The actual process is unchanged and remains once yearly.

“The motor vehicle repair trade is dominated by mostly small workshops but nationally they report about 3,000 injuries and cases of ill health annually,” says Evans.

“These are mostly caused by lifting heavy objects, slips and trips, falls and moving vehicles around the workshop.

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