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From the CEO's desk

23 January 2013

As the year proceeds, a number of potential issues need to be highlighted.

As the year proceeds, a number of potential issues need to be highlighted.

We are all aware that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carries out a sterling job acting in the publics' interest to reduce work-related death and serious injury across Great Britain. It is of great concern to the BSIF that over the next four years the HSE has to cope with a 35% cut in its budget and this presents a real concern for both the HSE and health and safety professionals.

These budget cuts obviously have a direct impact on the service it provides making it increasingly challenging for the HSE to perform its core purpose. The Federation believes it is pivotal that the HSE continues to maintain its focus to prevent major accidents, concentrating on areas of greatest risk and tackling blatant non conformers in the industry. It may be pertinent that, in the future, the non conformers may be issued a fine, thereby contributing to the HSE and its service. The United Kingdom has long had a leading safety record worldwide and it would be a disaster for this position to be jeopardised due to these drastic cuts. We believe that the Government needs to constantly monitor the United Kingdom's safety performance and review its budgets accordingly. Let's not lose our world position in leading health and safety!

David Cameron's well promoted 'Big Society' continues to remain in the spotlight, however with this 'Big Society' comes responsibility. It must be remembered that there is a crucial need for volunteers to be protected from hazardous environments, just because they are not being 'employed' doesn't reduce moral or legal duties to protect their welfare. Volunteer organisers need to ensure risk assessments are undertaken, these need not be difficult, they just need to highlight sensible precautions. Additionally, the volunteers should be trained and supervised properly. After all, the organiser has a 'duty of care' and can still be liable in the event of an incident. Volunteers are a crucial part of society so let's ensure they are safe, allowing them to return to help again. David Lummis, The BSIF Chief Executive Officer.