Since the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act was passed, the UK has become one of the safest countries to work in.
In terms of fatalities at work, the UK had 0.51 per 100,000 employees in 2013 which was significantly lower than France (2.94 per 100,000 workers, Italy 1.24 and Germany 0.81). The UK also had a lower rate of employees taking time off work due to a work-related condition (1.9%) when compared to France (5.4%) and Poland (7.7%). Although the decrease in sick days taken in the last 10 years doesn’t tell the full story.
That being said, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched a completely new strategy to tackle health and safety at work last year. Branded as ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ what does the strategy actually aim towards?
What Are The Aims Of The Strategy?
The strategy has 6 aims (see below) that are designed to improve on the UK’s already strong health and safety record.
As the economy changes and job roles are modified there is a need for a new policy to tackle health and safety in the 21st century. The Helping Great Britain Work Well scheme runs from 2016 to 2021 and will be rolled out over this period.
A nationwide engagement programmed was conducted in the early stages of last year which found the need for an umbrella strategy to encompass health and safety policies and procedures across the UK. Out of this programme of engagement came Helping Great Britain Work Well and it set out 6 themes to work towards.
The 6 Themes Of Working Well
The main areas that the strategy focuses on are:
- Acting Together — promoting broader ownership of workplace safety and health
- Tackling ill Health — highlighting and tackling the burden of work-related ill health
- Managing Risk Well — enabling productivity through proportionate risk management
- Supporting Small Employers— giving SMEs simple advice so that they know what they have to do
- Keeping Pace with Change — anticipating and tackling the challenge of new technology and ways of working
- Sharing Our Success — promoting the benefits of Great Britain’s world-class health and safety system
These 6 themes aren’t replacing what has already been carried out but rather building on the UK’s solid foundation as a leader of good Health and Safety practice in the workplace.
What Does The Future Hold?
The strategy is being implemented over a period of 5 years and much work is still left to do to fulfil its aims.
In 2017 the focus so far has been to examine and tackle work-related stress, occupational lung disease and musculoskeletal disorders. Over the course of the Helping Great Britain Work Well strategy, it is hoped that new legislation and policy can be shaped to create an even safer and healthier working environment for employees in the United Kingdom.
Do you have experience with the Helping Great Britain Work Well strategy? Do you think it is working towards fulfilling its aims to date and what do you think it will achieve over the course of the next 5 years?