Health and safety generates polarised views. Some see health and safety regulation as key to preventing injury and ill health; others see it as a burden on business, driving risk aversion and undermining our collective sense of responsibility. Over the past year health and safety regulation has been under scrutiny from the government and the press have frequently highlighted misapplication of these regulations.
What is clear is that, too many people are still being killed, injured or made ill by work. In Britain in 2010/11 there were 26,000 major injuries, 26.4 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury and globally 2.2 million workers are being killed each year. In Britain this is estimated to cost the economy £22 billion and internationally the economic impact is estimated at 4% of global gross domestic product.
As a response to this, the British Safety Council is launching its manifesto for workplace health and safety, Working Well, in the House of Commons on 23 April 2012 at an event hosted by Member of Parliament, Andy Slaughter.
Alex Botha, chief executive of the British Safety Council, announcing the launch of the manifesto said, “Our vision is that no-one should be killed, injured or made ill through work activities. Our goal is to bring together influential players, including politicians and opinion formers, to help focus on what we need to do make that vision a reality. Health and safety, when properly and sensibly managed, produces immense business, economic and social benefits.
“Working Well outlines the actions businesses and others can take now and is call to action in the UK and worldwide. The manifesto is a long-term road-map, setting out a number of actions in five steps that will bring together all those with an interest in health and safety to deliver. For Britain more regulation and enforcement is not the answer. Better sharing of knowledge and expertise, as well as a more risk educated society, is.
“The British Safety Council is looking to shift the direction of the debate away from the silly stories that fixate on ill-informed or misguided decisions, supposedly made in the name of health and safety, which stifle lawful activity. The manifesto will help us focus on what we need to do in our society to better understand and manage risk. We are calling on business, employers and other interested stakeholders to actively and publicly support and promote the manifesto.”
Go to www.britsafe.org/manifesto
to get a copy and give your support.