New IOSH president Ray Hurst has his work cut out

The health of the nation, common-sense approaches to safety and migrant workers are all priorities for the new president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Ray Hurst became the president last month, and is retiring as principal health and safety adviser at Essex County Council at the end of the year to focus on his role. He is keen to make employers aware of the benefits of looking after the health of their staff. “Keeping your staff healthy is a no-brainer. A healthy workforce will be a happy and productive workforce,” he said. “But we still have employers who believe by using an iron-fisted approach and forcing their workers to slave away they’ll achieve better results, and that’s misguided at best.

“Health and safety go hand in hand. While we look to keep staff safe, we must also look to improve their health. That’s something very much on the government’s agenda, and we are actively working on it too.

“We’ve produced our occupational health toolkit, and we are working with Dame Carol Black and the Department for Work and Pensions to prepare a report on the health of the working population. So IOSH is very active on health issues, and that will continue during my presidency.”

Hurst will also continue the battle to improve the image of health and safety and champion the need for a common sense approach. He will campaign to make UK workplaces safer for the many migrants entering the workforce.

Joining him on the presidential team is president-elect, Nattasha Freeman. A former chair of IOSH’s Midland Branch, Freeman is the director for health and safety at Birmingham-based Phoenix Beard Property Consultants. The presidential team for 2007-08 is rounded off by immediate past president Lisa Fowlie.

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