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From the CEO's Desk

26 August 2014

The summer has seen several published articles and comments on the 40th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act, much as one would expect in the safety trade press. However I think the two most significant pieces on this subject appeared in the Daily Mail and The Sun published on 26th July and 1st August respectively.

As we all know, the Daily Mail and The Sun, enjoy their fair share of having a go at Health and Safety but both newspapers paid tribute to the success of the Act and the impact of it’s adoption which has in it’s time contributed to reducing deaths in the workplace by over 80%. The Daily Mail repeated the sentiments of the Minister of State for Health and Safety. Mark Harper said: "Britain has come an incredibly long way over the past forty years in protecting its workforce. Our workplace safety record is now the envy of the world, with businesses and governments queuing up to tap into our expertise.” 

Congratulations to both tabloids for recognising that the UK is now one of the safest places in the world to work.
But with all the success attributed to the Act, why is the government trying to dilute it with the attempted removal of the growing number of self employed from the coverage of the Act? This seems incredible when we remind ourselves that one third of the fatalities reported last year came from the self employed. BSIF continues to argue against this position at every opportunity.
Finally it is unfortunate that neither articles covered the persistent problems of occupational diseases. Occupational diseases are not simply a legacy of past practices, 13,000 people are still dying each year and worker health protection needs to be prioritised in order to raise the quality of workers’ health. This country should be proud of our record in Health and Safety and more articles proclaiming this message in mainstream media certainly helps everyone understand the true value of sensible proportionate Health and Safety.