IT Sligo Students Help Businesses To Stay Safe

Health and Safety students from the Institute of Technology, Sligo have played a key role in helping local industries and non-profit organisations to make their workplaces safer for their employees.

Recent studies have shown that workplace fatalities and injuries are on the rise in Ireland. According to data from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, Ireland ranks above the EU average for fatal accidents at work.

SMEs find it difficult to keep abreast and comply with health and safety legislation as resources don’t allow them to employ someone in this area.

Since 2008, fourth year students from the Occupational Safety and Health Programme at IT Sligo have worked closely with SMEs and non-profit organisations.

This year, students worked with Color Communications Europe Ltd  in Castlerea, County Roscommon. Final year student Andrew O’ Sullivan said: “Our course really got us to put our knowledge into practice working with management and employees on finding solutions to the hazards and risks in their workplaces.”

“Those solutions included advising on strategies and procedures to assure legal compliance with health and safety legislation, and conducting health and safety training for employees on site.”

Michael O’Donohue, General Manager with Color Communications, says the student relationship with the Institute has helped to significantly enhance his company’s Heath and Safety strategy for its workers.

“We are a medium sized company in a low margin business without huge resources,” he says. “IT Sligo’s partnership with us has enabled us to take a 20-year-old company and bring it into best practice with regard to Health and Safety.”

Other collaborations included non-profit organisations such as the MS Therapy Centre in Sligo. The centre’s Services Manager, Tamara Gormley, says working with IT Sligo’s students was very beneficial. “We were delighted last year when IT Sligo chose to collaborate with us in the development of a sophisticated and comprehensive Safety Management System,” she said.

“The students displayed exceptional professionalism in their approach and interaction with management, staff and clients.”

The requirement to manage health and safety for employers to meet their responsibilities under health and safety law has resulted in an increased demand for Occupational Safety and Health graduates.

Edel Costello, Occupational Health & Safety programme co-ordinator at IT Sligo, believes this type of community engagement with companies in the North West ensures that graduates are workplace ready.

“In 2015, 95% of our final year students had secured health and safety positions in companies before they graduated. In fact, this year we have not had enough students to fill the paid placements on offer from companies and that’s a trend which looks set to continue.”

If you are a small to medium sized organisation and are interested in availing of the resources the Occupational Safety and Health programme at IT Sligo can provide, please contact Bláithín McGrath at mcgrath.blaithin@nullitsligo.ie before the 31st July  2016.

Photo caption:
(L-R): Fourth year Occupational Health & Safety students Michelle Moylan, Aisling Fleming, Andrew O’Sullivan, Tommy McGee and Malgorzata Przybylowska were part of the IT Sligo student group which helped Color Communications in Castlerea develop a new Safety Management System for the company’s employees.

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