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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
January 22, 2008

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MPs back regulation call

IOSH’s call for health and safety to be made a regulated profession is gaining support among MPs at Westminster.

As reported in the News section of last month’s SHP, an Early Day Motion (EDM), put down by Michael Clapham MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety, has so far gained more than 50 signatures.

The EDM was laid as part of IOSH’s Get the Best campaign, which calls for government and others to:

– define competence;

– adopt national standards for health and safety competence;

– regulate the profession;

– create specific directors’ duties;

– report on the triple bottom line; and

– add health and safety to core curricula.

The EDM states: “That this House is concerned that in the last year there were 212 workplace fatalities and that 328,000 people were seriously injured; is conscious that accidents at work and ill health cost society up to £31 billion a year; is alarmed that people without experience or qualifications can start up as a health and safety adviser; is troubled that a lack of clarity about competent safety and health advice can put people at an even greater risk in the workplace; and welcomes the call by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health for the Government to bring forward measures to regulate the health and safety profession.”

But it’s not just through EDMs that IOSH is cultivating the interest of politicians. Members of IOSH staff and presidential team members have been meeting MPs from all three main political parties to tell them personally about our campaigning issues.

Among the MPs and members of the House of Lords who’ve been met recently are:

– Terry Rooney, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee;

– Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and Learners at the Department for Children, Schools and Families;

– Lord McKenzie, the health and safety minister;

– John Spellar, Labour member of the Construction Skills and Training All-Party Parliamentary Group;

– Joan Humble, Labour member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee;

– Douglas Carswell, a Conservative member of the Education Select Committee;

– Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills; and

– Ian Cawsey, Labour member of the Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee.

Since September last year, IOSH has met a total of 18 MPs and peers, and more meetings are planned for the future, including a dinner in the House of Commons on 25 February, hosted by Michael Clapham, at which Lord McKenzie will speak to a cross-party audience of MPs and peers.

Ray Hurst, IOSH president, said: “Many of the MPs and members of the House of Lords we’ve spoken to have been very supportive of IOSH’s call for a regulated profession, and they are appreciative of the work that IOSH members do. But they want even safer workplaces — many of them are deeply unhappy at the toll of death and injury in the UK’s workplaces.

“There have, of course, been some MPs we’ve met who have had a less positive view of health and safety. It’s important that we continue to meet those politicians who see our profession as the cause of red tape, so that we can ensure they are given the correct information and try to persuade them that this isn’t what health and safety is about.”l

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