health and safety in Great Britain was launched today by Des Browne,
minister for work and Bill Callaghan, chair of the Health & Safety
Drawing on the last 30 years experience and extensive consultations
with a wide range of stakeholders, the strategy sets out a new
direction for the health and safety system and the roles of HSC, the
Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and Local Authorities (LAs).
The strategy is ambitious but realistic, focusing on managing risks
and not eliminating them. HSE and LAs will target resources on the
areas of greatest need and be less active where risks are well
managed. In those areas there will be greater emphasis on advice and
Mr Browne said: 'This new strategy is radical and brave in its
approach to reduce workplace risks for everyone, no matter what job
they do. But this cannot be achieved by HSC, HSE and LAs alone.
'It is vital that the whole health and safety system is involved and
close partnerships are forged with other stakeholders to bring about
change and improvement.
'This government sees occupational health and safety as a cornerstone
of a civilised society and wants to achieve a record that leads the
world. Great strides have already been made on safety improvements
and I want to see similar progress on occupational health.
'This is particularly important to me as it touches my department's
work in helping people back to work after illness and preventing them
getting ill in the first place.
'The record in reducing accidents is impressive. Now we need to
achieve a similarly impressive reduction in ill health arising from
work. As well as untold suffering, poor management of risks costs
the economy dearly. This new strategy is the way ahead.'
Key features of the HSC strategy include:
* Focusing resources on poor performance to get best resul ts
* Promoting greater involvement of workers - the strategy recognises
the people best placed to make workplaces safe are staff and
* Making information readily accessible and providing clearer and
* Involving all stakeholders and forging close working relationships
where everyone has a voice and can contribute
It calls for new ways of working:
* Providing effective support free from the fear of enforcement -
looking for ways to increase the understanding of health and safety
and its paramount importance
* Prioritising work - having the confidence to identify areas that
are well controlled, and withdrawing from them
* Sharing the vision - making a step change in the way HSC/E
Mr Callaghan said: 'The development of this strategy was driven by
the recognition that the world of work is changing, and with it, the
hazards. It is intended to reinforce our message about adopting a
sensible approach to health and safety, about balancing risks and
'We are not looking for a risk free society but one where risks are
better understood. Similarly we are signalling that more legislation
will not be our first response to new issues. We will work with
others to find the best solutions.
'Britain's record is already commendable, with fatal accidents
reduced by over two thirds since the introduction of the landmark
Health and Safety at Work etc. Act in 1974, but more needs to be
'Forty million working days were lost to occupational injury and ill
health in 2001/02: 33 million days were attributed to ill health.
'Implementing the strategy should further energise Britain's approach
to improving workplace health and safety for the future.'
The Strategy for Workplace Health and Safety in Great Britain to 2010
and beyond' can be accessed on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk
Copies are also available free from HSE Books, PO B ox 1999, Sudbury,
Suffolk CO10 2WA (Tel: 01787-881165 or fax: 01787-313995).
1. HSE is now developing an implementation programme and plan to
ensure that the strategy is driven forward. Early deliverables
- A statement on worker involvement in March 2004;
- Proposals for occupational health and safety support (based on
models currently being piloted) by Spring 2004
- High-level strategic programme plans by May 2004;
- A high-level partnership agreement between HSE and LAs by July
- Proposals for accessible channels of advice and guidance free from
the perceived fear of enforcement by September 2004; and
- An interventions strategy by the end of 2004.
2. Development of the strategy began in 2003 and has been informed by
three main sources:
* Consultation: Concerted attempts were made to involve stakeholders
in early thinking and to reach out to people who do not normally
receive written consultations;
* Reviewing evidence: A new literature review was carried out to
identify and draw upon evidence on the effectiveness of different
interventions in affecting health and safety. This included evidence
from systems in other countries;
* Drawing on experience: In addition, discussions were held on an
ongoing basis to identify untapped experience.