Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, Penny Mordaunt MP, pledged her support for a new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) strategy for health in Britain’s workplaces.
Linked to the Helping Great Britain Work Well strategy, which was launched a few months ago, the HSE’s new Heath and Work strategy is focused on reducing work-related stress, lung diseases and musculoskeletal disorders.
It is being launched at a time when stress and musculoskeletal disorders account for around 80% of all working time lost due to illness, while statistics from the HSE show around 12,000 deaths each year from occupational lung diseases, accounting for 90% of estimated deaths related to past exposures at work.
In 2015, work-related illness affected around 1.3 million workers and nearly 26 million working days were lost because of it. The economic costs are stark – totalling over £9 billion per year for new cases alone – not including ongoing costs from working conditions of the past.
With an increasing emphasis on health issues in recent years, it is estimated that a quarter of all HSE enforcement notices issued to duty-holders concern issues around health in the workplace.
The recent HSE launch event in London encouraged stakeholders representing employers, employees, professional/expert bodies and colleagues in government, to engage on the strategy through digital webinars, email bulletins and social media.
An online page has been developed, allowing stakeholders and public to view and download the strategy, and to post views and comments as part of the engagement process to provide information about their own contributions to improving health at work.
The British Safety Council has welcomed the new HSE strategy and says it hopes it will provide leadership and focus for the industry on this important issue.
Louise Ward, policy, standards and communications director at the British Safety Council, said: ‘We look forward to working with the HSE and its partner organizations on implementing this very important strategy, which has the potential to make a real difference in the world of work.’
To join the engagement on the Heath and Work Strategy, go to: www.hse.gov.uk