Ehstoday 2023 British Flag

Worker Health and Safety Is an Election Issue in UK

March 19, 2015
The British Safety Council has written to six of the main political parties in advance of the May 7 general election to find out more about their plans, if elected, for worker health and safety.

In the United States, it is pretty rare to discover that presidential candidates have included occupational health and safety as part of their campaign position statements, let alone part of their election strategy.

In the UK, the British Safety Council has reached out to six of the main political parties in advance of their May 7 general election to determine if any of the candidates care about occupational safety and health.

“With less than two months to the general election, we wanted to hear from the parties ahead of the election what their plans and priorities are for ensuring that those at work are kept healthy and safe,” said Neal Stone, acting chief executive of the British Safety Council (BSC).

“We focused on six political parties – namely the Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP and UKIP. It is certain that one, or more, of these parties will be in government come May 7,” he said. “Their views on how they plan to help grow a sustainable economy, and the role that good health and safety will play in achieving that goal, are of vital importance to British Safety Council, our member organizations and their employees.”

“BSC asked the candidates three questions. The first concerned how health and safety is regulated, and in particular how each of the parties would support the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities to ensure that risks are being adequately controlled.

“As budgets are tight and public spending on regulation and enforcement reduces, we want to hear from parties what they will do to ensure regulators are adequately resourced including their views on HSE becoming more commercial,” said Stone.

BSC also asked about the role and responsibility of employers to help address the nation’s health issues through workplace interventions. 

“Health risks are always difficult to tackle and in many ways have been a second order priority as we focused largely on the prevention of injuries at work,” Stone admitted. “However, our failure to effectively manage occupational health risks, costing some £8bn each year, is a huge burden for the country. The workplace can be a very convenient place to convey important health messages from occupational disease like cancer, to obesity and the dangers of physical inactivity.”

Finally, BSC wanted to hear from the candidates what the government could do to help employers to do more to invest in good health and safety. There are many innovations in the field of insurance and taxation, some already in operation other countries, which could encourage sound investment to help prevent workplace injury and ill health occurrences.

“Getting businesses to invest in effective health and safety measures, is critical,” said Stone. “We know that investment in training and the proper maintenance of plant, equipment and machinery can help reduce lost time and maintain productivity whilst saving the public purse billions spent by the NHS on healthcare.”

The British Safety Council is planning to publish the responses it receives from the six parties in the May 2015 edition of Safety Management.

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Free Webinar: Mining & ESG: The Sustainability Mandate

March 28, 2024
Participants in this webinar will understand the business drivers and challenges of ESG and sustainability performance, the 5 steps of the ESG and sustainability cycle, and prioritized...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!