BSIF – Ensuring the industry’s voice is heard
http://silverwarepos.com/portfolio_entries/single/ Alan Murray, BSIF CEO speaks to HSE International about the Federation’s continuing commitment to improving the safety and health of the UK workforce.
In the current climate, having the ear of UK legislators is vital. ‘Good safety and health is good for business’ is at the forefront of our work at the BSIF and leads our political engagement programme, which, in conjunction with our other activities, is working towards improving the overall public opinion of safety and health in the UK.
For many years, the UK health and safety industry has been regarded as an international example, but ironically, it is not always properly valued at home. During the current Brexit negotiations, there has been speculation about the extent to which safety and health regulations, currently governed by the EU, could shape UK industry in the future. Consequently, the BSIF has been keen to keep our membership as well-informed as possible, particularly with regards to the impact of the new PPE Regulations that will become applicable from the 21st April 2018.
The BSIF is actively engaging with the Government and all affiliated bodies to establish an official position as Brexit negotiations progress. We continue our efforts to ensure that the safety of the UK workforce is not compromised, that the UK continues to have a place in standards development and product certification, and that fundamental good safety and health practice and policies remain in place. As the BSIF’s CEO and currently President Elect of the European Safety Federation, I will ensure that the voice of the UK continues to be represented where it matters.
To the general public in the UK, safety and health is often seen as an overbearing and unnecessary burden; it is frequently lambasted and parodied in the media. Through efforts with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), we work to challenge these misconceptions and prevent safety and health regulations in the UK taking a separate path from the rest of Europe.
Never before has there been more widespread evidence of non-conforming PPE products, including safety toe caps, leather gloves and hi-vis clothing. As a result, we have expanded the BSIF Registered Safety Supplier Scheme (RSSS) in an effort to prevent non-compliant and non-conforming PPE from entering the UK market. We are actively engaging with Government and local authorities to inform them of the importance of sourcing PPE from capable suppliers who are members of the RSSS. We want to ensure that safer practices become part and parcel of national and local authority procurement strategies.
In addition to our concerns for the provision of occupational safety, the BSIF is also keen to improve the response to work-related long-latency illnesses. These include noise-induced hearing loss, occupational dermatitis and skin cancers, and occupational lung disease which still kills thousands of people every year. The BSIF has been engaging with the Department of Health to show that better safety and health legislation reduces work-related illness rates. This has been supported by our Parliamentary Report on Work Related Respiratory Illness, which was launched last year in order to develop our engagement with local councils.
A year ago, we registered the 2nd BSIF led Early Day Motion (EDM) in Westminster. This supported the Health & Safety Executives (HSE) ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ strategy and agreed that effective safety and health cultures in business should be celebrated rather than be seen as a burden. The EDM also recognised the reduction in the HSE’s budget and the implications this could have on regulations being implemented. Since then, a further Parliamentary event and numerous individual meetings with MPs have helped to progress our aims and inspired a large number of pertinent ‘Questions in the House’.
While we have all been given assurances that safety and health for our workforce will be amongst the primary concerns during Brexit negotiations, the BSIF will continue to press for the details and operational activities necessary to ensure our continued effectiveness is not absent from the discussions.
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