Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

December 20, 2019

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Health and Safety legislation

British Safety Council respond to Queen’s Speech

The British Safety Council and other bodies have pledged to work with the government to protect and enhance workers’ rights, reform the regulatory regime for building safety and improve air quality.

Mike Robinson,

Chief Executive of the British Safety Council Mike Robinson

An Employment Bill is amongst the thirty new bills that will be introduced, which aims to improve workers’ rights and promote fairness in the workplace.

A new single enforcement body will also be created for better protections to workers, as the government pledge to strike “the right balance between the flexibility that the economy needs and the security that workers deserve.”

Other new Bills that will be introduced include:

  • The Building Safety Bill. This will put in place a new regulatory regime for building safety and construction products.
  • A new Environment Bill, which will bring in legally-binding targets to reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the most damaging pollutant to human health.
  • Fire Safety Bill will implement the relevant recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry Phase 1 Report.

In response to the Fire Safety Bill, the government has said this “deliver meaningful change to ensure an appalling tragedy like Grenfell can never happen again”. It will ensure that the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire are learnt and will

A potential partnership with the British Safety Council, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), is in the works to consider how they can work together to improve health and safety.

Chief Executive of RoSPA, Errol Taylor, confirmed: “We, together with our sector partners including British Safety Council, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, are discussing ways in which we can work together to make the case for maintaining and enhancing workers’ protections.”

The RoSPA CEO also commented: “Given the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, these measures inevitably focus on fire prevention. However, it is important to remember that for every fire-related hospital admission in England, there are more than 200 that are caused by accidental falls.

“These falls could be prevented by zero and low-cost design features and specifications. We must take this opportunity to not only protect residents from fire but also the other, far greater numbers of deaths and serious injuries that are caused by falls, Errol added.”

Speaking about the Employment Bill, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, Mike Robinson, said: “I welcome the government’s promise to enhance workers’ rights, but we will have to see the detail of the Employment Bill.”

“Balancing flexibility in the economy cannot be at the expense of protecting workers’ health, safety and wellbeing. The British Safety Council will be working with partners in our sector to ensure that there is not a drive for deregulation for deregulation’s sake. In fact, we will be making the case for effective health and safety management as central to thriving, profitable organisations, he added”

Commenting on the new Environment Bill Mr Robinson said: “I hope the government can pick up where it left off on air pollution, and implement ambitious, binding targets for levels of particulate matter. In 2020 we will be building on our Time to Breathe campaign to recognise the impact of air pollution on outdoor workers and pushing the government to adopt the World Health Organisation target on PM2.5.”

Concluding his remarks Mike said: “This is a packed agenda and 2020 is clearly going to be a busy year for our sector – we will be working with partners, members and politicians from all parties to push our priorities and to ensure that no-one is injured or made ill through their work. I look forward to getting stuck in after Christmas.”

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