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From the Secretary's desk

23 January 2013

With the new government addressing the public spending deficit, the safety industry awaits the effects the decisions will have on occupational health and safety in the UK.

With the new government addressing the public spending deficit, the safety industry awaits the effects the decisions will have on occupational health and safety in the UK. The well trailed intention to eliminate the trivialisation of health and safety in the "red-tops" will be welcomed by anyone who is determined to reduce injuries at work. There seems to be a desire to shift the current balance towards the enforcement of sensible practices to prevent employees facing dangerous situations and away from unreasonable regulatory impositions on businesses. It is these unreasonable interpretations which generate the adverse consequences of over zealous management reactions.

The BSIF and its members are already feeling the pressure in respect of budget reductions. Those involved in the important work of standards development may find themselves having to bear the increased costs that result from European and International attendances at meetings due to the significant cuts in the public sector contributions which have historically been provided. It is really no surprise that this reduced involvement by the UK in the development of EN standards may result in excessive delays and a lack of attention to UK interests.

Plans are now being developed to support an outward trade mission to Saudi Arabia in February 2011 to support the export ambitions of UK companies serving the safety industry. At home, the concentration on respiratory protection by the HSE and the BSIF is helping to expand business and improve the health of employees across industry as a whole, a real "win-win" situation. The Fit2Fit accreditations scheme for fit testers is gathering momentum, the 'Clean-Air? Take Care!' campaign appears to have captured the imagination of all sectors and the development of a suite of respiratory protection initiatives by the HSE within their disease reduction programme all combine to assist an industry wide focus on the need for better respiratory protection at work.

The BSIF is pleased to announce a new joint initiative with the Environment Agency designed to assist the transport sector manage the avoidance of liquid spills and when emergencies occur, improve the handling of these to avoid environmental damage. The BSIF has always been able to talk with government departments as an "honest broker" having the collective interests of the supply-side of the UK safety industry as its main focus rather than seeking to promote individual member interests. It also prides itself on its public service activities seeking to help industry provide improved safety. This Industry Sector Report will contain advice on best practice and information on handling liquid spills. If this is successful, it is likely that the next sector report will be broader and also include the issue of the safety of personnel handling these spills.

We are all looking forward to the holiday season and the opportunity for a break The BSIF hopes that managers with a safety responsibility will ensure that while senior staff are away, they delegate competent people to oversee the safety of their employees. The BSIF is not on holiday and always welcomes comments from readers on any subject within its pages in this magazine, via the Editor please.

Geoff Hooke, Secretary General to the BSIF