The IOSH Manifesto launches – but will Westminster take note?
As official campaigning for the 2015 General Election begins in earnest, the IOSH has launched their own manifesto, seeking to gain political support for their ongoing efforts to raise health and safety standards across the UK. The manifesto outlines the improvements IOSH members hope to see implemented over the course of the new parliament, with the manifesto acting as a “come and get me” document for vote-hungry political parties.
What is the IOSH calling for?
The IOSH manifesto has five key points they want to see addressed by the next government:
1. An emphasis on the business case for improvement
Top of the IOSH agenda is a refocusing of current strategies, moving away from the current crime and punishment-style deterrent, instead making the case for business benefits of upholding legislation. In the manifesto IOSH points out that health and safety failings currently cost the UK economy £14.2 billion annually, a figure they believe to be more compelling than threats of fines and imprisonment for breaches.
2. A broader focus on occupational health
The IOSH has also called for a greater focus on occupational health-related issues. Although asbestos-related illnesses remain a massive problem, the risks are better understood by employers than many other health issues. As a result IOSH would like the next government to help raise awareness of other conditions like occupational cancer that claim 8000 lives every year at a cost of £10 billion to society. The IOSH also warns that much more research needs to be done into the health risks associated with modern technology, the long-term effects of which remain poorly understood.
3. Create a health and safety-aware culture
Citing the example of the London Olympics, IOSH wants the government to continue fostering a culture that builds health and safety planning into every project from the outset. This is not to say that IOSH wants to see a rise in ‘elf n safety’ nonsense, rather that by tackling heath and safety issues at the design stage saves time, money and lives.
4. Integrating health and safety with corporate social responsibility
Many large businesses already publish their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) targets, designed to reduce their carbon footprint or to improve relations with the local community. The IOSH would like the government to encourage firms to include health and safety in these targets. In this way firms are influenced to go beyond the legal minimum, building a happier, healthier and more productive workforce in the process.
5. Improved employee training
Finally the IOSH would like to see all employees receiving higher quality training, creating a safer work culture for all. The IOSH manifesto calls for government departments to demonstrate leadership on the issue, by using more socially responsible (and safer) procurement channels.
A manifesto for every party
The beauty of the IOSH manifesto is that the goals are completely non-partisan. Regardless of who wins the May 2015 General Election, any party could enact these “policies” as none of them conflict with party manifestos published to date.
As such it would be great news for employers, employees and the UK economy in general if all of the GE2015 candidates could get behind the IOSH this time.