RoSPA is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. They are a registered charity that has been around for almost 100 years. In that time they’ve done some pretty incredible work, all centred on saving lives and reducing injury caused by accidents. They aim to lead the way in accident prevention. They continue to run endless campaigns to reduce the risks of accidents at work, in leisure, on the road, in the home and through safety education. They work not only in the UK, but also throughout Europe. They are truly committed and passionate about what they do and always remember that behind every statistic is a real person. Somebody that has lost their life or been seriously affected by what has happened to them. Somebody’s family that is left to pick up the pieces after something that could possibly have been prevented.
How did RoSPA Start?
Following the First World War, conditions had necessitated restricted street lighting in this country. This led to a huge increase in road traffic accidents. This problem was discussed at a public meeting at Caxton Hall in 1916 and it was decided to elect a London ‘Safety First’ council to tackle the issue. This council developed into what is RoSPA today.
How do RoSPA Achieve their Goals?
RoSPA will campaign on just about anything accident related. Their dedication is inspirational. It seems any time a new risk is highlighted or a new accident occurs – there’s a new campaign. Over the years they’ve had great success with many of their campaigns and here I’ll discuss just a few of those.
In 1942 they developed the Kerb Drill as a method for teaching children how to safely cross roads. This system was used for decades before the Green Cross Code was developed. In 1947 they introduced the Cycling Proficiency Scheme which went national in 1958. This meant that 100,000 young people a year were trained. In 1961 The Tufty Club was launched. This was a club for children under 5 years of age which used cartoon characters to portray vital safety messages. In 1987 their campaign for safer foam furnishings began to bear fruit. Fire deaths plummeted as people replaced old sofas with newer models. This saved hundreds of lives. In 1996 they first published Managing Occupational Road Risk (MORR). This has since become a mainstream health and safety issue for all employers. Details of work related road accidents are now collected by the police. In 1999 RoSPA’s president, Lord Davies of Oldham, introduced a bill in the House of Lords to ban using hand held mobile phones whilst driving. Unfortunately the bill failed, but it raised awareness and the legislation was finally passed in 2003.
This alone is an astonishing list of achievements in the field of accident prevention and it is only a selection of examples of the amazing work RoSPA have done.
What is RoSPA doing Now?
RoSPA have many ongoing current campaigns. I’ve listed and briefly explained the main ones below.
RoSPA’s research shows that 29 children have been killed on or near the driveways of their own home since 2001. So they are now working to raise awareness among parents, carers, friends and visitors to prevent this from happening.
Accident prevention remains a relatively low priority to the government despite the fact that accidents cost the country an estimated £150 billion. RoSPA’s key campaign is to make accident prevention a high priority for public health.
Since 2004 RoSPA has been calling upon the blind industry to reduce to risk of looped blind cords to the lives of young children. They’ve recently welcomed a major development in this campaign as a new standard was released in 2014 which significantly increased the safety measures in place for many more categories of blinds.
In 2010 two children died within days of each other having been crushed between electric sliding gates in separate incidents. There was heavy media coverage which led to the Health and Safety Executive issuing new safety guidelines for the manufacture and installation of these gates.
RoSPA pioneered the campaign for a change in our system of timekeeping which would mean lighter evenings all year round resulting in fewer road accidents.
Young Drivers are far more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents for a number of reasons. RoSPA seeks to improve the safety of young drivers by forming policies at a national level, conducting research, and developing practical assessments and training courses for young drivers.
Since 2002 no fresh data has been collected on injury surveillance in this country.
RoSPA leads the call to have this re-established.
Why is what RoSPA does so Important?
More than 14,000 year die in this country alone as a result of accidents. There are millions more injuries that we cannot even quantify. Accidents cause loss and suffering to the victims, their families, employers and our entire society. It’s due to this figure that RoSPA continually strive for higher standards in the field of health and safety, there should always be at least one person in your company that is the appointed person first aid training courses. But just imagine what this figure would be had it not been for their numerous successful campaigns over the years. As early as 1917 a campaign for pedestrians to walk facing oncoming traffic led to a 70% fall in road deaths in the following year. RoSPA were instrumental in the introduction of the first seat belt law in 1983 which was thought to have saved 60,000 lives. This is only the figures for just 2 of their campaigns, over the years RoSPA have championed too many crusades to even count. The number of lives they have saved probably runs into the millions. To save just one life is an inspirational act worthy of our utmost respect and rapturous applause. But to save millions? Well, I’m not sure that there is any way we could ever possibly thank them.