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Five essential health & safety updates for business leaders in 2018

25 October 2018

Aside from their devastating human cost, occupational accidents and ill-health bear a significant cost to employers through staff absence and higher insurance premiums. Staying up-to-date when it comes to health & safety is therefore essential to running a safe and efficient workplace and there are some significant changes taking place...

Here are five you need to know about in 2018:

1. ISO 45001 is coming

ISO 45001; (Occupational health and safety management systems - Requirements) 
is a new standard due to be published in March 2018 which has been designed to improve occupational health & safety management around the world.

ISO 45001 is intended for use by any organisation, regardless of its size or the nature of its work, and can be integrated into other health & safety programmes. 

Under the standard’s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) framework top management are required to demonstrate commitment through leadership to ensure that workers have the appropriate skills to support their health and safety and that effective controls are put in place. 

2. Changes to sentencing guidelines are starting to bite 

Following the introduction of the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences, which came into force in February 2016, fine levels for companies prosecuted for offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations have increased dramatically. A key change is that companies can now be heavily penalised for causing risk of harm as well as actual harm and consequently cases which would once have attracted fines in the thousands are now resulting in fines in the millions.

3. The rise of Industry 4.0 is bringing both challenges and opportunities

The world of work is changing rapidly not least through the rise of Industry 4.0. People are living and working for longer; many tasks are being automated; modern communication technologies are dissolving the work/home divide; new materials like nanotechnology (including tiny air-born waste products that can damage our health) and new techniques are presenting new risks; and more ‘flexible’ employee contracts are becoming commonplace. 

A literature review from The British Safety Council examining these changes suggests they will be good for worker health and wellbeing but there will be many associated challenges to navigate and risks that business leaders will need to understand and control.

4. Building a culture of engagement pays dividends

There has been much discussion about building a positive health and safety culture and adopting the principles of behavioural safety, but leading organisations are now moving towards an engagement culture. Evidence suggests engaged employees who share a common goal can become key advocates for a business and improve every aspect of their performance including health and safety.

5. Lessons from elite sports can improve worker health and safety 

There is a body of evidence to show that poor nutrition and overuse of caffeine and sugar can affect attention and coordination sufficiently to impact on safety as well as long term health. Employers have started turning to the world of elite sport to learn how the principles of effective nutrition can be applied in the workplace for significant gain. 

The Health & Safety Event, held at the NEC, Birmingham from the 10-12 April 2018 is the perfect opportunity for business professionals to keep up-to-date with important safety updates and source the latest technology to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.

Free visitor registration is now open. Visit www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk for more information.