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IOSH calls for enhanced workplace health and safety ahead of UK General Election

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Election campaign overlooks occupational safety and health

As reported by IOSH, the UK General Election is scheduled for 4 July, and political parties are actively campaigning to attract voters.

Despite the prominence of various issues in the campaign, occupational safety and health (OSH) has not been a primary focus.

IOSH has launched its manifesto, “Safer, healthier, happier,” calling for the next Government to strengthen and expand the UK’s system that prevents workplace harm.

IOSH President-Elect Kelly Nicoll emphasised the importance of addressing mental health and implementing preventive measures across all areas of OSH to boost the economy and reduce NHS waiting lists.

Nicoll stated: “A huge amount of work is needed in this area, not just to support people who are struggling with their mental health but to prevent problems in the first place.”

Consultation on ‘fit note’ reform underway

While the election campaign continues, active consultations are still taking place, including one on reforming the ‘fit note’.

This consultation is an opportunity for IOSH members to influence the Government’s approach to occupational health provision.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are seeking input on current and future policy considerations for the fit note process.

Dr Ivan Williams Jimenez, IOSH Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager, highlighted the importance of this consultation: “OSH professionals are critical in supporting employees to remain healthy and productive at work.

Their advice and expertise can help to prevent people falling out of work and contribute to improved practices when getting back to work.”

Survey reveals support for prioritising occupational health services

According to a new survey by IOSH, nine in ten health and safety professionals believe the next Government should prioritise improving occupational health services to reduce work-related illnesses.

The survey results coincide with the launch of IOSH’s manifesto, which urges the incoming Government to focus on protecting workers to aid economic recovery and reduce NHS waiting lists.

Ruth Wilkinson, IOSH Head of Policy and Public Affairs, emphasised the economic impact of poor workplace health and safety: “The most recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive showed that workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill-health cost Britain £20.7 billion.

“More people being injured or made ill by work means more people seeking treatment, which adds additional pressure onto the NHS.”

IOSH’s calls to action for the new Government

IOSH’s manifesto outlines five key actions for the new Government:

  • Protect workers’ rights to safe, healthy, decent work by endorsing international health and safety conventions.
  • Strengthen and expand the UK’s harm prevention system by increasing funding for the Health and Safety Executive.
  • Support businesses in addressing new workplace hazards, ensuring non-permanent workers have rights to good working conditions and a minimum wage.
  • Promote a diverse, inclusive, skilled, and motivated workforce by integrating diversity into health and safety legislation and policies.
  • Build a more robust, sustainable economy by updating laws related to changing health and safety risks and prioritising people in the sustainability agenda.

Wilkinson added: “By taking these actions, the Government will go some way to reducing the number of accidents in workplaces and the number of cases of ill health caused by work.

“They are investments into the future of our workers, preventing people from being harmed by work, which will help cut the number of people seeking NHS treatment and support the economy.”

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