‘Act on occupational health reform plans’, government urged

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The new Conservative government has been urged to put workers’ health at the top of its agenda by pushing ahead with plans to reform occupational health services.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) said the government needs to commit to the protection of workers’ rights and future-proof the UK’s health and safety system by ensuring that health is at the heart of its proposed “infrastructure revolution”.

Richard Jones, IOSH head of policy and regulatory engagement, said the UK’s divergence from the European Union could allow health and safety standards to slip.

He said: “IOSH calls on the Prime Minister to strengthen and future-proof the UK’s world-leading health and safety system and commit to get health and safety done.

“The 2020s need to see the UK substantially raise its performance on occupational safety and health, from improving mental health at work, to preventing long-latency diseases like occupational cancers; and from securing building fire safety to strengthening protections for the most vulnerable workers. It’s about ensuring long-term commitment and real action on health and safety that delivers a successful and sustainable future for all.”

In particular, the body would like to see the government press ahead with the occupational health service reforms and subsidies proposed in its “Health is everyone’s business” consultation earlier this year; introduce the right to request health-based modifications at work; work to improve employees’ mental health at work; and introduce national “post-Grenfell” building regulation and fire safety reforms.

It has also urged ministers to act on its plans to improve modern working practices and introduce between transparency on preventing modern slavery in supply chains.

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