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Health and safety – what’s next?

15 June 2015

The British Safety Council will be holding its annual conference ‘Health and Safety – What’s Next?’ on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at Etc.venues Dexter House, central London.

The conference this year cuts across the health as well as safety management landscape to allow business leaders and managers to share insight into the ongoing challenges facing businesses. The event will run from 09:00 – 16:45, opening for registration at 08:15, with opportunities to network over lunch and throughout the day.

The morning will be opened by a keynote presentation from Steve Hails, health and safety director at Crossrail, one of Europe’s largest railway and infrastructure projects, who will give insight into some of their key challenges and priorities. Professor Stephen Bevan from the Work Foundation will present the second keynote articulating the necessity of addressing health at work and potential policy outcomes for business. The morning’s opening session will be completed with a view from Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, in relation to what’s next in terms of addressing workers’ priorities.

Other morning presentations include those from Kevin Myers, director general regulation from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the priorities and challenges ahead in relation to working with businesses, and Birgit Müller from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work who will speak about the Agency’s stress management campaign and the resources available to businesses to share good practice.

The afternoon sessions allow for delegates the opportunity to choose whether to participate in panel discussions – one on ‘compliance and enforcement’ and the other on ‘competence and training’ – or attend further presentation sessions, on sharing best practice from British Safety Council member organisations – Black & Veatch, Unipart Group and North Star Shipping – and gain insight into some of the latest health and safety campaigns – Safer Lorries (TfL), Breathe Freely (BOHS) or Speak Up, Stay Safe (British Safety Council).

The day’s proceedings will be drawn to a close with a concluding keynote by Geoffrey Podger, former chief executive of HSE, now visiting senior research fellow at King’s College London.

Neal Stone, acting chief executive of the British Safety Council, said: "Health as much as safety continues to demand the attention of business managers and decision-makers. Though the numbers of fatalities have dropped to lowest levels yet in Great Britain, the numbers we are seeing regarding the cost and impact of sickness absence particularly in relation to musculoskeletal disorders and stress management are a cause for concern. In 2013 PriceWaterhouseCooper's research showed that in UK companies, illness and its associated costs accounted for around 90% (£29 billion) of the total absence bill (£31 billion).

"Health and safety can be about managing the risks, be they to individuals or operations, but what we also see evidence of is the tangible benefits and advantages that good health and safety management can bring to businesses. And our strength is that our members can and do share their experiences in understanding and addressing these day-to-day challenges that can have such a large impact on individuals – colleagues – as well as the bottom line.”

The morning’s event will consist of a series of presentations and panel discussions. The full event programme can be found at: www.britsafe.org/whatsnext