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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 226

Date:- 07 November 2005

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Over 49’s dance their way to better health

STAY active and enjoy yourself’ was the message of the Time Out event for over-49s held at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel last week. Volunteer members of Liverpool based Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums took part in the event along with other partners including Age Concern and Merseytravel to encourage local residents to lead healthier lives. Visitors enjoyed free taster sessions of line dancing, salsa, tap dancing, drumming and even boxercise. Information was also distributed about ways to stay physically and mentally active.

To help recruit new volunteers to the locally based PPI Forums, an opportunity to enter into the free prize draw for a signed Everton football was given to anyone who expressed an interest in becoming a forum member. Over 120 names were received, showing the that the community is serious about getting involved in decisions which affect their health.

PPI Forum Member Freda Banks said:- “We had a really successful day. We were able to speak to lots of people about the work of our PPI forums. People were especially interested in cleanliness inspections in hospitals which we call ‘Bugwatch’, and were very keen for us to send them further information about becoming a forum member. We only intended to stay a few hours and ended up staying the full 7 hours because we enjoyed the day so much!”

The PPI Forums are looking for more volunteers to join them in influencing local health services around the Liverpool area. Anyone interested should call the CPPIH recruitment hotline, 01925 543 000 or visit our website, www.cppih.org.

 

SMOKE SIGNALS

A BAN on smoking in company vehicles could be on the horizon, says Masterlease. Businesses could soon have to stop workers from smoking while out on the road, according to leading fleet management company Masterlease. The warning comes after the publication of the Government’s Health Bill, which included details of a complete smoking ban from all workplaces by the summer of 2007.

Masterlease is warning companies that a vehicle being used by more than 1 person should be treated as an extension of the workplace, and that failing to do this could have serious health and safety implications. However, Masterlease also believes that businesses with large fleets could save money in the long-term thanks to the new legislation.

The new law is aimed at preventing non-smokers from being exposed to other people’s cigarette smoke and could extend to colleagues travelling in the same car or van while on company duty – regardless of who owns the vehicle. Also, driving while smoking could see drivers punished for failing to have proper control of the vehicle, an offence which is due to become endorsable by 3 penalty points, the same as a fixed penalty notice for speeding.

Gavin Jones, head of ProAct, Masterlease’s own risk management service, admits the rule could be difficult to enforce but says it could be in businesses’ best interests to do so:- “Businesses face a duty of care to their employees and that extends to while they are out on the road too. The total ban from smoking in the workplace will extend to all vehicles carrying more than one person and could be particularly significant to trades like builders and plumbers, for whom their vehicle is essentially a mobile office from which they carry out the vast majority of their work. Of course, it may be difficult to enforce – it is hard to say how much control a company has over its employees’ actions, especially when they are rarely in the office. But should a law suit arise it could be the business that is held responsible.”

Jones added that there were other issues to consider, such as the residual value of vehicles, which would improve if they were not exposed to smoke damage. Jones adds:- “It’s not all bad news for businesses as a vehicle is usually worth more money at the end of a contract if it has not been subjected to damage and discolouration from smoke and cigarette burns in the upholstery. Those operating large fleets could see the savings add up over time.”

 

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