Headlines: June 9th, 2000

The public sector is urged to set an example of good practice in the new Health and Safety strategy launched by the Health and Safety Executive. The strategy provides for the removal of Crown Immunity from prosecution to improve performance and accountability in the public sector.The most common forms of work-related ill-health are back problems and other aches and pains with 1.2 million people affected every year, causing almost 10 million working days to be lost. . Around half a million people suffer from stress caused by their work. Accidents and ill-health among the work force cost the British economy up to 18 billion pounds a year, but the cost in terms of human suffering cannot be measured. The strategy is being promoted as equally relevant to the call centre as to the construction site.

For the first time national targets have been set for improving health and safety. They include a reduction in the number of working days lost from work-related injury and ill-health by 30 per cent and a 20% reduction in the incidence of people suffering from work-related ill-health by 20 per cent by the year 2010.

The ten-point strategy supported by a 44-point action plan will provide incentives and practical support to employers, together with a range of measures to tackle employers who do not meet their health and safety responsibilities.