IOSH campaigns for better h&s

The UK-based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has called for a worldwide improvement in health and safety standards and implementation.

HURST: health and safety is a global issue.
HURST: health and safety is a global issue.

The UK-based Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has called for a worldwide improvement in health and safety standards and implementation.

"All health and safety areas need to be looked at from a global perspective to establish what can be done to improve them," stressed IOSH president Ray Hurst.

Speaking at Intersec Middle East 2008, Hurst reported that there are currently around 2.3 million work-related deaths worldwide annually, with the construction industry accounting for about 60,000 of these fatalities.

"That is one death every ten minutes occurring in the construction industry somewhere in the world," stated Hurst.

"This is incredible in terms of the costs to an organisation, but the financial impact is just one aspect. Health and safety is good business: how much time does it take if you'd had an accident to investigate and analyse it?" he questioned.

"Investment in health and safety...will improve this situation."

Hurst stressed that any investment should be made by employing properly trained and qualified health and safety practitioners.

IOSH is currently campaigning for recognition of health and safety as a profession to increase the effectiveness of any measures taken and ensure continuous improvement.

"Decision making needs to be made based on competent health and safety advice," he stated. "We still have a way to go because there are still a lot of people who don't see health and safety as a true profession yet."

"If you are a lawyer or a doctor you need to meet certain competency requirements, and I think it will eventually be the same with safety," Hurst stated.

"Part of our key message is if you want competent health and safety advice then come to an organisation such as IOSH, which has chartered health and safety professionals," he added.

IOSH offers best practice advice and support as well as training courses for health and safety professionals. It currently has around 50 accredited trainers in the UAE for the courses.

It is also campaigning for increased training of business professionals. Hurst explained: "When you do a MBA...there isn't a single moment spent on health and safety, so tomorrow's leaders in industry and business has no concept of health and safety needs."

"We want to get that into the curriculum and to say that health and safety is as much a core part of the core business as anything else," he stressed.

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