British Safety Council manifesto gains Commons and Lords support


The BSC has issued a 5-Step Manifesto that it calls ‘Working Well’. The steps are:

  1. Promote the importance of health & safety
  2. Build understanding and capability
  3. Commit to leadership and worker engagement
  4. Share knowledge and experience
  5. Campaign for sensible legislation, regulation and application

The British Safety Council’s initiative is designed to counter the heavy emphasis that the Government has placed on deregulation of the health and safety culture in the UK. Significantly, it chose to launch it at the House of Commons

Although there has been a very positive reaction from many businesses to the prospect of a relaxation of many of the petty or onerous regulations, the regulators and official bodies are clearly disturbed by the potential threat to their positions and are seeking to mount a public relations challenge to it.

The BSC has been lobbying heavily and says it has secured ‘overwhelming’ pledges of support from various MPs and Peers in a bid to ‘shape the health and safety landscape over the coming years’. Their stated aim is to keep workplace health and safety high on the country’s agenda.

Companies who are members of the British Safety Council gave presentations at the launch on what they do to keep their workers safe and healthy.

Alex Botha, chief executive of BSC, welcomed the support of those who attended and signed up in support, saying “We all need to work together to help shift the debate on health and safety… It’s about the steps that can be taken to ensure workers are kept safe and lives saved. It’s not rocket science.”

Comments from the MPs included:

Andy Slaughter MP -

“It’s aspirational. It’s not telling people what to do, it’s not detailed, it’s not pettifogging, it’s about cultural change. It’s about saying health and safety is everyone’s job. That, to me, sums up what is best about health and safety in this country. Whether we are talking about industrial disease or whether we are talking about health and safety at work generally, we’ve got to ensure, in the interests of not just the individual or society as a whole, but in the interests of the economy, that health and safety is still a priority.”
Andrew Bridgen MP -
“I like the fact that the British Safety Council’s manifesto addresses the important contribution of leadership and worker engagement. One of the main thrusts of the Löfstedt review is that everyone is responsible for their own health and safety and that of the people around them. I think that is a great ethos.”
Andrew Miller MP -
“Health and safety is the hidden success story of the last 40 years, since the coming into force of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. Yes we have silly stories, we have to debunk those stories and we have to bring safety to the forefront in every workplace. The London 2012 Olympic construction projects, where probably for the first time there has been no work related fatality in the lead up to a major games is a fantastic success story and one we should be proud of.”
Steve Rotheram MP -
“These are five sensible steps that everybody should find very palatable, sign up for and then try and do what we all can… to see whether we can push forward that agenda.  Those who say that its health and safety gone mad, really have damaged the whole push forward we’ve made in the last 50 years in this country towards making things much safer.”

Clearly all of those who are responsible for safe and healthy construction workplaces need to be aware of the BSC’s call to action. They see it as a ‘long-term road-map’, and time will tell whether or not it becomes a staple of the health and safety agenda. Will it have any effect in terms of watering down the Government’s planned cull of outdated legislation?

If you want to keep yourself abreast of the rapidly-changing legislative scene this year, seek up-to-date assistance from the experts at McCormack Benson Health & Safety.