On the eve of the World Day for Health and Safety at Work, the British Safety Council has re-affirmed its role in the industry as a champion of health and safety at work and its belief that proportionate and effective management of health and safety is an enabler of business activity.
Celebrated annually on 28 April and led by ILO, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work raises public awareness of the importance of health and safety at work, as well as the prevention of occupational accidents. In 2014/2015, accidents at work claimed 142 lives and caused 78,000 injuries in Britain*. This year’s campaign is focused on work-related stress and its impact, reflecting the pressures employees face to meet the demands of modern working life, including the fast pace of work shaped by instant communications, longer working hours and increasing competition in both domestic and international markets.
“These facts and figures reflect the importance of proactive and effective management of health and safety and its risks,” said Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council. “Over the last 40 years, since the enactment of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, we have witnessed immense improvements in making workplaces safer, preventing injuries and reducing incidences of work-related ill health. This record is a result of the combined efforts of the organisations driving the health and safety agenda, as well as many of the British Safety Council’s members, who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to the health and safety of their employees.”
Mike Robinson continued: “The cost of work-related ill health to the country has remained fairly static over the past five years. In 2014, injuries and the ill health of employees resulting from work cost society £14.3bn annually, of which £9.4bn was from illness and £4.9bn from injury (source: HSE). However, the number of working days lost due to ill health has increased, mostly as a result of work-related stress, hence the focus of this year ILO’s campaign.
“The British Safety Council’s biggest current concern is the burden of work-related ill health conditions, particularly relating to mental health. That’s why this year the British Safety Council will unveil a number of initiatives that are focused on mental health. They will include the British Safety Council’s Annual Conference, which will take place in London on 5th October, and the launch of new qualifications that will help managers and employees become aware of mental health issues in their companies.”
28 April is also a day when union members and campaigners celebrate International Workers’ Memorial Day to commemorate those killed, maimed, injured and made ill by work. They renew a pledge to fight for the living, by raising safety concerns in the workplace and public awareness of the importance of health and safety. This year’s theme is Strong laws. Strong enforcement. Strong unions.
*Sources: HSE and RIDDOR