Minister celebrates diamond jubilee with IOSH

IOSH celebrated 60 years of making workplaces safer, healthier and more sustainable, with a Jubilee Lunch at the House of Lords.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, the new minister responsible for health and safety at the Department for Work and Pensions, chose the event for his first public speaking engagement since taking on his new role.

During his speech, Hunt paid tribute to the work carried out by IOSH to improve safety, and especially health, in the workplace, and said: “I am looking forward to working with IOSH in the future on our shared agenda of increasing health and safety in the workplace.”

IOSH president Lawrence Waterman also addressed the gathering, and called for clear guidance for employers on what “competent health and safety advice” means in relation to their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Lawrence appealed for the tone of debate on health and safety to be raised in the face of misleading stories in the media, and also welcomed the re-announcement of the Draft Corporate Manslaughter Bill in the Queen’s Speech. But, he argued, the legislation should go further to ensure all organisations are held to account for serious corporate failures leading to death and injury.

On ensuring good health and safety practice, he said: “In the same way that good governance and financial responsibility is encouraged by being woven in company law and financial regulations, we believe that this is best done by embedding directors’ duties on health and safety into company law and making them more widely applicable by reissuing Health and Safety Executive guidance for directors as an Approved Code of Practice.”

The lunch was hosted by Lord Brougham and Vaux, who gave a welcoming address. Following the event, Michael Clapham MP, chair of the All Party Committee on health and safety at the House of Commons, registered an Early Day Motion that began: “This House congratulates the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.”

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