Health And Safety In A Changing World

A set of six reports, which come after five years of research as part of IOSH’s Health and Safety in a Changing World programme – one of the most ambitious programmes of research ever undertaken into the ways we protect people from ill health and injury in the workplace – has revealed some key findings into the perception of health and safety and the challenges the profession is facing.

The findings include:

  • The safety and health profession can be more confident in sharing its benefits to business and society but more flexible in incorporating new ideas, such as employee ‘workarounds’.
  • Negative perceptions of health and safety appear more associated with ‘public’ than ‘workplace’ issues – members of the public are more supportive of efforts to promote safer workplaces than interventions out of work.
  • The profession is having to adapt to address a variety of challenges presented by a rapidly changing world of work, from managing transient workforces to supporting smaller businesses that suspect ‘gold-plating’ by practitioners of their safety and health policies and practices.

The reports include:

  • The changing landscape of OSH regulation in the UK
  • The changing legitimacy of health and safety at work, 1960-2015
  • Occupational safety and health in networked organisations
  • Networks of influence: practising safety leadership in low-hazard environments (LHEs)
  • OSH knowledge and its management
  • Engagement of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in occupational safety and health
They can be downloaded here.

Commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), research teams conducted the six studies to shed new light on modern-day worker protection at a time when health and safety has been lambasted in sections of the media and become the subject of reviews into its regulatory frameworks.

The findings of IOSH’s five year programme – Health and Safety in a Changing World – give fresh insight into the role safety and health is now playing in a world of transient or disparate workforces, automated production and economic and political uncertainty.

IOSH executive director of policy Shelley Frost said: “It is clear from our research that the modern-day safety and health practitioner faces multifarious challenges in their vital work to safeguard working people.

“Businesses, politicians and the media are posing questions of the profession and the system in which its members work, asking whether we need current levels of regulation and whether practitioners are being overzealous in their recommendations to employers.

“However, it is evident that safety and health is a stable system that is valued by business and the public at large. People do care that they and their loved ones are not placed in unnecessary risk at work. Our research programme underlines the need for the safety and health profession to be agile and open-minded in the face of change, and more confident in promoting the very many positive contributions it makes to our lives.”

IOSH’s five-year research programme set out to explore the landscape of occupational safety and health and its implications for developing solutions that provide effective protection for workers and their communities.

The professional body commissioned studies by teams from the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), Loughborough University, Cranfield University and the universities of Nottingham, Reading and Portsmouth, under the direction of Professor Robert Dingwall.

Read more here

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