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February 25, 2011

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Policy matters – Shape the future of health and safety

Policy and technical director Richard Jones takes a brief glance back at 2010 before it slips beneath the waves, noting how the general election, the spending review and Lord Young all made a huge impact.

We welcomed the Coalition Government’s commitment to our call for a reinstated ‘operating and financial review’ – our response has been made and there’s more to come. We also welcomed its recognition of the importance of good health and safety and our profession, support for accreditation of consultants, and understanding of the need to address the illusory so-called ‘compensation culture’. Other 2010 successes included elements of the sentencing guidelines, and an IOSH place on the Council for Work and Health. 

But we’re still concerned about aspects of Lord Young’s report and ensuring over-simplification doesn’t lower protection. So, we really need input on the HSE online risk-assessment tools, checklists and codes and on the coming consultations: possible changes to RIDDOR, moving to over seven-day reporting; assessing standards in multiple outlet businesses; and the big one, creating a ‘single set of accessible regulations’.

On other issues, we’d like comments on the government white paper, ‘Healthy lives, healthy people: our strategy for public health in England’, which seeks to tackle ‘lifestyle-driven’ ill health and health inequalities. We’d also urge members to respond to ‘Measuring national well-being’, which considers the development of new metrics on quality-of-life issues and what matters most in people’s lives (see www.iosh.co.uk/condocs). 
 
Looking at the economic challenges ahead, we must clearly set our rigging for rough seas – making a far stronger business case for health and safety. We’re launching a distinctive new leaflet for MPs, using as much ‘nudging’ as we can. Just as we hope the Lord Young review heralds a turning point for health and safety’s image – so we hope that, in 2011, use of behavioural economics helps achieve improvements. For example, challenging organisations to report on targets, making directors’ duties part of CHaSPI, and removing tax disincentives from employers for certain non-work injury or illness therapies.
 
If you’d like to get more involved, contact Richard Jones ([email protected]) or send consultation comments to [email protected]

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