Clare County Fire and Rescue Service last week joined 31 private and public sector organisations from across Ireland to receive service quality awards from the Minister of State for Small Business, Mr John Perry T.D.
Among those who travelled to the awards ceremony in Dublin to accept the OHSAS 18001:2007 certification, the only auditable international standard for health and safety, were Cllr. Joe Arkins (Mayor of Clare), Adrian Kelly (Clare Chief Fire Officer) and Ger Hartnett (Senior Executive Health & Safety Officer, Clare County Council).
The “Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems’ standard was first published by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) in 2007. The standard sets out a preventative and proactive approach to identifying workplace hazards and assessing and controlling risk.
Speaking at the awards event in Dublin, Minister Perry said: “I want to congratulate all recipients of quality awards, and recognise their important investment in standards. Finding a competitive advantage is crucial for businesses both at home and abroad and the impressive organisations here today show that companies believe that standards really do give their business that advantage.”
Mayor of Clare Cllr. Joe Arkins congratulated the Fire Service, adding that maintaining health and safety standards to the highest level is “critically important for both Fire Service personnel and the general public whom they serve.”
“I want to commend all Clare County Fire & Rescue Service personnel for their planning, organisation and hard work in providing a quality, year-round service to those who live in, work in and visit Clare,” added the Mayor.
The awarding of OHSAS 18001:2007 certification follows just 6 months after Clare County Council received the overall Local Authority Award in the 22nd Annual National Safety Awards scheme, hosted by the National Irish Safety Organisation (NISO) and Northern Ireland Safety Group (NISG).
“In the Fire Service, the management of Health & Safety of personnel is a top priority for all employees. The certification to OHSAS 18001 by the NSAI is an acknowledgement that the way that we are managing in health and safety is to the highest recognised standards,” explained Adrian Kelly, Chief Fire Officer.
Mr. Kelly added: “Our Fire and Rescue Service personnel are among the most highly trained in the country and this accreditation underlines that staff are also committed to implementing the highest standards of health and safety throughout their operations. While we were always satisfied that we were achieving the highest possible standards, securing this accreditation helps us to promote this fact to the wider public throughout County.”
Other companies and organisations presented with awards included Dulux Paints Ireland Ltd., Dawn Meats, Datapac, Irish Air Corps, Fitzsimons Insulation, ESB Corporate Centre, and Carlow Fire and Rescue Service.
“The small business sector is central to economic recovery, job creation and the further development of the Irish economy. Certification to standards helps businesses to be innovative, allowing SMEs to compete with much larger companies, attract new customers, and access global markets,” commented Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI.
For more on OHSAS 18001:2007 certification visit www.nsai.ie.