Workplace safety to be made HSE priority

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is to focus on tackling work-related ill health as part of a new five-year strategy.

The HSE is also concerned that council capacity to undertake health and safety inspections is under considerable threat.

The CIEH is taking advantage of a widespread consultation to influence policy. This includes a series of events to be held around the country.

The strategy has six key themes, including ‘highlighting and tackling the burden of work-related ill health’.

CIEH head of policy Tony Lewis said: ‘At a time when local authority-based health and safety enforcement activity is at an all time low, the new strategy provides a great opportunity to focus resources and reinvigorate what continues to be a very important area of work.

He added that talking ill health in the workplace, including mental health, was a priority area.

‘This is something that CIEH particularly supports and will be commenting on positively in the discussions we shall be holding with HSE.’

The HSE has raised concerns with the CIEH over the current challenges that local authorities are reporting over health and safety inspections.

But after conducting a survey of environmental health managers, the CIEH’s National Environmental Health Board discovered the majority of authorities say they do have capacity to undertake programmed activity and routine accident inspections.

Ms Hackitt said the new strategy was ‘not for the HSE alone’.

‘We need to act together to gain much broader ownership and commitment and that means we need to talk, share ideas and find the courage to take some new directions,’ she added.

Other key themes the HSE will focus on include supporting small and medium-sized businesses and ‘enabling productivity through proportionate risk management’.

In 2014/15, 1.2 million people suffered an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their work.

More than 140 workers were killed at work, a rate of 0.46 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

There were also 76,000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR regulations.


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