The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) issues new Strategy

The strategy, Helping Great Britain work well, was formally launched at an event in London recently.

The executive launched the strategy for consultation in December 2015. It did not invite discussion on the strategy’s goals, only on how they could be achieved. It held a series of invitation-only events in cities around Britain in January 2016 and February 2016.

HSE chair Dame Judith Hackitt said these events had shown “strong support” for the strategy’s aims. “We have spoken to hundreds of people directly and reached millions more through social media,” said Hackitt. “But what we have seen is more than just ’support’, there is a huge amount of energy and a desire to get involved in driving improvement in all parts of the system.”

These aims are as follows:

  • promoting broader ownership of health and safety in Great Britain
  • highlighting and tackling the costs of work-related ill health
  • simplifying risk management and helping business to grow
  • giving SMEs simple advice so that they know what they have to do
  • anticipating and tackling new health and safety challenges
  • promoting the benefits of Great Britain’s world-class health and safety system.

The HSE’s previous strategy issued in 2009, Be Part of the Solution, also called on industry to share responsibility with the regulator for reducing accidents and ill health.

The executive stresses that the strategy is not for the regulator to fulfil but for all those with an interest in improving standards, including employers, unions and industry bodies. However, the strategy document notes “HSE is committed to playing its part to improve outcomes and deliver on its responsibilities as the independent regulator and prime mover in the system.”
Minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson, whose portfolio includes health and safety, said the strategy had his “full backing”.

“I was impressed with the energy and drive that has gone into creating the new strategy, involving stakeholders at events held around Great Britain and discussions over social media,” wrote Tomlinson in the introduction to the strategy document. “It is now vital that the impetus is maintained and that the theme on ownership is taken up by everyone in the system – whatever your role, you have an active part to play in delivering on the strategy’s potential. If that happens, we really will all be helping Great Britain to work well.”

IOSH played a part in the engagement programme. The institution’s response highlighted five areas: occupational health, including work-related cancers; competence, leadership and worker engagement across organisations; demographics, including ageing workforces and migrant workers; globalisation, including health and safety within supply chain management; and new and emerging technologies.

Shelley Frost, IOSH’s executive director – policy, said: “IOSH welcomes the new strategy, which is closely aligned to IOSH’s strategic priorities.

“It recognises the key opportunities to address the current and future OSH issues and we support in particular the focus on collaboration across all stakeholder groups to effect change. 

“We look forward to working closely with HSE to deliver our shared ambitions, disseminate best practice and support others in advancing health and safety standards across all industries."