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Safer, healthier, happier

Protecting workers to rebuild the UK economy

Date posted
28 May 2024
Marcus Boocock
Estimated reading time
3 minute read

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced there will be a General Election on Thursday 04 July. IOSH recently surveyed its members on what OSH-related matters they believe the next Government should focus on, with the results being fed into our manifesto. Here is a summary of our key calls to action for the next UK Parliament.

Poor health and safety harms people, communities, businesses, the NHS and the economy. In 2021-22, workplace injury and new cases of work-related ill-health, including the growing issue of mental health problems, cost Britain £20.7 billion.

Imagine the benefits we could all reap from preventing harm, protecting and inspiring people through better working conditions and health and safety standards.

Now is the time to act

Technological advances and other developments like social and environmental changes are transforming work. This creates significant pressures and also opportunities to make work better.

We consulted with our members, and we believe the next Government has a vital chance to transform UK workplaces for the better, if it commits to taking five key actions.

Protect workers’ rights to safe, healthy, decent work

  • Follow through on the UK’s commitment to provide a safe and healthy working environment as a basic right for everyone, including endorsing and fully implementing related international conventions. This must cover all workers, irrespective of their status, including non-permanent ‘gig’ workers and those in supply chains.

Strengthen and expand the UK’s world-leading system that prevents harm at work

  • Back the Health and Safety Executive to do its role, and help businesses prevent harm through increased staffing and funding that enables better guidance, more inspections and effective enforcement.
  • Invest in strong occupational health systems. Equip small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the resources they need to invest in prevention and early intervention around occupational health, including mental health.

Support businesses to tackle new and emerging workplace hazards

  • Be proactive on laws, regulations and support for businesses to ensure new technologies, climate change and the green transition do not harm workers.
  • Ensure all non-permanent ‘gig’ workers can receive compensation for work accidents and occupational diseases. Secure their right to good working conditions, a minimum wage, working time protection and collective bargaining, including union representation.

Promote a diverse, inclusive, skilled and motivated workforce

  • Help to deliver inclusive workplaces by mainstreaming diversity into occupational safety and health legislation, national policies and strategies and workplace action.
  • Equip workers with the necessary health and safety awareness, knowledge and skills to build positive and proactive cultures now and for future generations.

Build a more robust, sustainable economy

  • Review and where necessary update laws and regulations to ensure changing health and safety hazards and risks are addressed.
  • Support the delivery of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring people are at the heart of the UK’s own agenda in this area alongside environmental and financial commitments.

Together, we can make work good for all by empowering employers and workers to be safer, healthier and happier. This will benefit businesses, reduce the impact on the NHS and support a sustainable economy.

Our General Election manifesto

You've seen the summary of our key calls to action for the next Government. Now check out our manifesto in full.

Last updated: 10 June 2024

Marcus Boocock

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