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News

HSE Chief Executive outlines the new challenges of regulating British industry

HSE InfoLine : 13 March, 2006  (Company News)
The Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive Geoffrey Podger, in a speech, today at the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health conference, has set out the challenges facing a modern regulator.
The Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive Geoffrey Podger, in a speech, today at the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health conference, has set out the challenges facing a modern regulator.

In 2004/2005 an estimated 2 million workers in Great Britain suffered occupational illness that they believe was caused by work. This costs British industry an estimated 10billion a year. New risks to the health and safety of British workers with occupational ill health, including stress, back pain and upper limb disorders, are a major challenge that the HSE in partnership with Local authorities, employers and trade unions must tackle.

Mr Podger said, 'There is much talk now of 'new risks' and here I mean the health risks that are a key challenge for the modern society. Helping to develop healthy individuals and healthy workplaces surely leads to a healthier and wealthier nation. '

Continuing the theme of partnership working Mr Podger talked about the challenged of increasing numbers of migrant workers and ensuring that their health, safety and welfare is protected and that they understand their rights. HSE is heavily involved in discussion with the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education and Skills on a draft International Labour Organisation convention on regulating the forced labour dimension of migrant working.

In closing Mr Podger highlighted the new sensible risk principles, due to be launched by HSE in early summer. This follows a yearlong public debate on the issue of risk aversion in society, which was called for by the Prime Minister in May 2005.

Mr Podger continued, 'HSE is concerned about the quality of risk management. In particular, that too much time is spent by some on trivial risks and unnecessary paperwork and not enough on the serious risks that cause real harm and suffering. We are determined to play a leading role in getting the balance right.
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