Health as much as safety in the spotlight at next month’s Britsafe annual conference
THE programme is now set for the British Safety Council’s annual conference entitled ‘Health and Safety – What’s Next?’, which takes place on Wednesday 23 September 2015 at Dexter House in central London. Health at work will be as much in the spotlight as safety, as indicated by the line-up of speakers and presentations across the day.
During the morning Prof. Stephen Bevan (pictured), director at the Work Foundation’s Health at Work Policy Unit, will provide a keynote address. ‘Very often physical and mental illnesses go hand-in-hand. Among people with chronic musculoskeletal disorders, for example, up to 30% also have comorbid depression or anxiety,’ he said.
‘We know that comorbidity can increase healthcare costs by up to 45% and that living with both a mental and physical illness can make staying in – or returning to – work, much more difficult to manage. As the workforce ages, healthcare systems, active labour market policy and employment practice will need to adapt to improve the management of employees with multiple health conditions, including mental illness.’
And with businesses looking to understand the new government-funded Fit for Work service, it is an opportunity to hear first-hand from Chief Nursing Officer Chris Rhodes. He said: ‘Business leaders and managers continue to be challenged by occupational health. It is vital for them to know that there are options available and importantly where and how the Fit for Work service sits among them. We know that some employers are uncertain about whether this service will also benefit them and how it will work in relation to them and their employees.’
Other presentations in relation to health at work include will that from Gill Sellars, health & safety and HR director at Unipart Group, Mike Slater, past-president of the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection (BOHS) and Birgit Müller from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).
Neal Stone, acting chief executive of the British Safety Council, said: ‘Health as much as safety continues to demand the attention of business managers and decision-makers. The numbers we are seeing regarding the cost and impact of sickness absence, particularly in relation to musculoskeletal disorders and stress management, are a cause for concern. We look to play our role in helping businesses share understanding of what they can do to address these challenges.’
The conference will also provide a view on regulatory priorities in Great Britain, as well as insight into European and UK campaigns. Other crucial themes in relation to health and safety that will be discussed include understanding the proposed new regime for turnover-based health and safety fines and the new threshold for imprisonment; competence and training – a particularly relevant topic for construction in relation to the new CDM 2015 regulations; and sharing best practice from member organizations.
The conference will consist of keynote addresses as well as a series of presentations and panel discussions. The price per person is £145.00 + VAT for British Safety Council members or £175.00 + VAT for non-members. The full event programme can be found at: www.britsafe.org/whatsnext