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Glasgow hosts first event on the health and safety system strategy for Great Britain roadshow

Date:
18 January 2016

Leaders of Scottish business and supporting organisations are meeting today in Glasgow to discuss the development of Britain’s new strategy for workplace health and safety. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), wants leading industry figures and key influencers to have a say in shaping the future strategy for Great Britain’s health and safety system, and is going on the road to hear those views. The roadshow will travel to six other cities over the next fortnight, finishing in London on 2 February. 

Glasgow was chosen to host the first roadshow in which people and organisations are being asked to contribute ideas on what will help the countries and regions of Great Britain ‘work well’. 

The roadshow coincides with the development of a new action plan by the Partnership on Health and Safety in Scotland (PHASS) to help strengthen the pattern of ownership and collective effort in continuing to improve health and safety in Scotland. 

Despite being one of the safest places in the world to work, every year in Scotland there are an estimated 42,000 new incidences and rates of self-reported illness caused or made worse by a current or most recent job.

HSE, the independent regulator for workplace safety and health, which is organising the roadshows recently published the six themes the five-year strategy will cover and a wide range of influencers including employers, workers, local and central government, unions and other regulators are being consulted on their views. 

There are three overarching aspects the new strategy will tackle and the conversations will seek to address; 

  • Taking collective ownership and looking at personal contributions to health and safety that do not cause unnecessary cost or inefficiency to people or business.
  • Health. Over 23 million working days are lost each year through work-related ill-health and the costs to Britain are estimated at over £9.4bn per year.
  • Boosting Britain’s businesses. Ensuring SMEs in particular get the right information, at the right time, and take the right action easily. 

HSE will tell the collected audience that it has done much to banish the myth that health and safety equates to bureaucracy and actually benefits business in terms of productivity, innovation and growth. But at the roadshows it will ask how this work can be continued into the next five years. 

A multi-channel awareness campaign is underway on social, online and print media and the hashtag #HelpGBWorkWell is inviting people from all over Britain to join the conversation. 

Head of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in Scotland, Karen McDonnell, who will address today’s event said: “Partnership working is vital to the future success of the health and safety system in Great Britain, and that is why this roadshow is so promising. 

“Multi-disciplinary partnership working has been fundamental to bringing together Scotland’s business and health and safety networks and this engagement on the future system is the next step forward. 

“I understand the future of the health and safety system in Great Britain belongs, not only to HSE, but, to everyone, and that’s why I have agreed to speak at this event that encourages people to talk and exchange views in order to gain a broader ownership of the system as we know it.” 

Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, Chair of HSE said: “Scotland enjoys the same record on work-related safety and health as GB as a whole which is undoubtedly one of the best in the world. 

“Ensuring Britain continues to work well is the challenge, which is why we are asking workers and employers to give us their ideas on the country’s health and safety strategy, a strategy for all, shaped by all.” 

ENDS

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The six themes for the strategy are:
    1. Promoting broader ownership of workplace health and safety
    2. Highlighting and tackling the burden of work-related ill-health
    3. Supporting small firms
    4. Enabling productivity through proportionate risk management
    5. Anticipating and tackling the challenges of new technology and ways of working
    6. Sharing the benefits or Great Britain’s approach
  2. Britain has one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries at work in Europe.
  3. There has been a huge reduction in deaths and injuries at work in the 40 years since the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was introduced – for example, 86 per cent fewer fatal injuries to employees in 2014/15 compared to 1974. But, in 2014/15:
    1. 142 people did not come home from work
    2. 611,000 more suffered a non-fatal injury at work
    3. 1.2 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness
    4. £14.3billion was the cost to Great Britain of injuries and new cases of ill-health from current working conditions
    5. 27.3million working days were lost to work-related ill health or injury
  4. A report on the evidence for Scotland has been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-safety-in-scotland-a-review  
  5. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Great Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. hse.gov.uk

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