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Derek Maylor, Chairperson

Last month in Malaysia nearly 100 participants spent a week discussing ISO 45001 the new standard for occupational health and safety and now it is due to be published in March next year, however, there is to be yet another vote. Glad that I wasn’t chairing the conference as they had to consider 1,600 comments submitted following the public consultation, including ours.

The HSE recently provided figures showing the cost to the British economy of worker ill health, over £9 billion a year, so their latest ‘Go Home Healthy’ campaign is understandable but will be generally ignored by industry for short term gain. The NHS picks up the bill for much of the treatment for workers made ill.

The greatest cost is borne by the worker and their family and despite encouraging employers to have healthy workplaces getting workers support if they need it production managers will continue to squeeze workers, frequently ignoring the advice of even their own Occupational Health Services. Until companies have pay the cost of any treatment for work injured illness directly back into the NHS there is no incentive for them to change however moral the case is.    

At the last HSE Board meeting cyber security was discussed, starting with work in the chemical sector but now working with groups across a whole range of agencies. There could be accidental or intentional hostile breaches of on-line programmes. Starting next April is the roll out of HSE inspectors who are currently under training, there will be commercial opportunities arising from this as well as regulatory necessity which will pay for/support implementation. Companies are keen to take part as they are concerned with safety ramifications of a cyber breach. The HSE is already well ahead of international standards.

Forty three workers were killed in 2015/16 and ten times that died from construction related ill-health, with a massive 65,000 reported non-fatal injuries. There is to be a major drive this month on risk management by the HSE in the construction sector throughout the country apart from the obvious falls from height, they will focus on harmful dusts from concrete, brick and stone, good order and welfare provision.

Train staff industrial action continues in the northwest and the staff continues to have the support of the general public who use the rail services. Removing the guards is a severe threat to passenger safety and reassurance of that safety whilst travelling.

As always, and in conclusion; we aim to provide the best advice and representation for our members and to:

*Ensure a safe working environment
*Promote occupational health
*Help members raise safety concerns
*Advance industry best practice
*Provide representation at national meetings
*Raise issues with other safety or government bodies

Our greatest assets are our Union Safety Representatives and we fully support them in their work.

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