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New beginnings

15 April 2014

As we shake off a long wet winter and start to welcome the warmer weather, lighter evenings and the advent of new life, the world of health and safety is also marking some new beginnings.

Like much of Britain in this winter’s weather, those working in health and safety could be forgiven for feeling they have been flooded by a torrent of reviews in recent times. At last this period of scrutiny seems to be coming to an end and the focus is moving towards the delivery of some of the recommendations.

With a lighter statute book, new and simpler guidance to hand and some progress reportedly being made in overcoming negative perceptions of health and safety the challenge now is to ensure that everyone in the health and safety system is focused on real risks. This is according to the HSE’s director of cross-cutting interventions, Jane Willis, speaking during her opening seminar at The Health & Safety Event at the NEC in Birmingham on the 11th March. Willis explained that helping businesses and stakeholders focus on real risks is a key priority for the HSE. Said Willis: "Risk Assessment has become a White Elephant. It’s a means to an end not an end in its own right so it’s useful if it’s done properly but it’s not about risk assessing everything that moves in the workplace.” (see more page 32)

Other changes afoot include the retirement of a familiar face in these pages, the BSIF’s CEO David Lummis. An enormously popular figure in the safety industry who has overseen some significant campaigns and initiatives during his tenure; he will be greatly missed. The HSM team wishes David a happy retirement and warmly welcomes the BSIF’s incoming CEO Alan Murray. Read their reflections and hopes for the safety industry on pages 18 and 19.

Another familiar face whose contributions to this magazine will be missed is RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser Roger Bibbings who has now retired. Roger has contributed many thought provoking pieces to this magazine in the ‘View from the top’ column. However his retirement makes way for some new voices from RoSPA to share their views and experiences. We kick off this month with an insightful piece on the topic of workers’ attitudes from RoSPA’s workplace safety manager Rob Burgon (page 8). 

This issue we also have a brand new column from the BOHS  - The Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection - profiling a day in the life of an occupational hygienist. With widespread misconceptions about what occupational hygienists do and how they fit into the overall occupational health and safety picture this column aims to set the record straight (page 82).

Finally we are planning some new beginnings of our own, with a refresh of our brand and some of our content in the pipeline. Naturally we would like your views on our proposed changes so we have put together a brief reader survey which we will be emailing and posting on our website shortly. We would be extremely grateful if you could spare five minutes to share your opinions.