MPs heed our health and safety message
27 September 2012
IOSH urged politicians and media to ‘Get a new perspective’ on health and safety, at the Liberal Democrats Party Conference this week.
The economy and how the Government can claw back the national deficit featured heavily on the conference agenda, which ran from Saturday 22 to Wednesday 26 September, in Brighton. Meanwhile, IOSH used its innovative stand to debunk media myths and send the message that Britain could save itself billions simply through good health and safety management.
Politicians visiting the stand – decked out in body-altering mirrors and fairground chequerboard flooring – were particularly interested in IOSH’s Li£e Savings campaign, pushing the moral and financial benefits of health and safety.
Tim Gordon, chief executive of the Liberal Democrats, was one of those, as was party president Tim Farron MP, who said: “I buy that completely and you are doing a very good job of getting this message across.”
Also commenting on IOSH’s stand and slogan, Sir Bob Russell added: “It’s a powerful message and I hope it will be taken to other conferences.
“Tragically, people are still being injured and killed at work. And my job is to say to the Government, ‘Hold on, safety in the workplace is absolutely vital’.”
Meanwhile Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne MP highlighted the unprecedented zero fatalities during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games construction project.
He added: “Health and safety is important and I think people forget what huge strides have been made in recent decades. Of course everyone wants health and safety to be proportionate and not an unnecessary interference, but people going about their work in industries like construction, which can be very dangerous, need to know that every measure has been taken within reasonable bounds to make sure they are safe.”
During the conference, IOSH held several meetings with politicians, including Lord German, co-chair of the Liberal Democrats Party Parliamentary Committee for Work and Pensions. The outcomes of last year’s review of UK health and safety legislation were up for discussion, including the effect of swapping Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) for guidelines and the problem with exempting self employed from the jurisdiction of law.
Summing up his opinion of the review, Lord German said: “It seems to have been well received and has had a real good hearing in the House. It’s a good report.”
By the event’s close, IOSH had spoken to more than 100 people visiting the stand.
Phil Bates, IOSH senior research and technical adviser, said: “People have listened very carefully to our message and really agree with what we are trying to say. A lot of them didn’t realise the actual true cost of poor occupational safety and health for the economy and their eyes were opened to the potential savings that could be made.
“One or two people had believed the stories that they had been reading in the press. We managed to change their perspective and help their understanding of what the real issues were behind those myths. They said they could now see our point of view.”
Visit IOSH's Liberal Democrats Party Conference Flickr album for images.
Keep an eye on our social media channels - Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and our blog - as we take our message to the Labour and Conservative party conferences over the next couple of weeks. And look out for our exhibition stand at the Conservative Party conference, in Birmingham.