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Throughout the General Election campaign, British Safety Council urged candidates, parties, and their leadership to make worker health, safety, and wellbeing a priority; and a new Parliament offers newly elected MPs the opportunity to do just that.  

While all the main parties were disappointingly silent on worker wellbeing in their manifestos, the next Parliament offers a fresh opportunity to put worker health, safety, and wellbeing front and centre; and harness its benefits to unlock lost productivity, improve health outcomes, and contribute to local, regional, and national economic growth.  

Politics, we’re often told, is about choices and the choices made in this next Parliament will lay the foundations for the future; one that could be safer for workers or that could expose them to greater risk in a rapidly changing world.  

British Safety Council is committed to a future that is healthier, safer, and happier for workers, across every industry and sector, and here’s how we think the next Parliament can make this a reality:  

  • Seeking continual improvement of domestic health and safety standards to ensure that the UK remains a world leader, despite the changes and challenges that the future will hold.  
  • Allow no rowing back on domestic standards as part of post-Brexit regulatory reviews.  
  • Providing adequate funding for regulatory bodies (including the Health and Safety Executive, the Building Safety Regulator, and local authorities) so they have the funding and powers they need to keep workers and workplaces safe.  
  • Developing and deploying the first ‘National Wellbeing Strategy’, led by a new Minister for Wellbeing, that seeks to understand the cyclical impacts of wellbeing and harnesses these to make workers healthier, safer, and happier – all while improving productivity, reducing economic inactivity, and growing the economy.  
  • Focussing on skills by incentivising employers to make workplaces safer. A Skills Tax Credit, as part of higher education reform, would incentivise employers to train all staff in health and safety – boosting skills and making workplaces safer; a win-win.  
  • Introducing a corporation tax offset for employers investing in new and developing technologies, from artificial intelligence to augmented reality, to improve safety standards in the workplace. Harnessing the good that new technologies can offer in making workplaces safer, whilst legislating to ensure that AI development keeps societal betterment at heart.  

The future can be safer than the past, but we can’t take for granted that it will be. While new technologies and new working styles offer the hopes of a safer future, these developments alone will not see workplace fatalities drop, reductions in the number of non-fatal injuries, and improvements in worker wellbeing.  

The choices made in the next Parliament, on everything from working standards to artificial intelligence, could together contribute to the kind of future we all want to see, one where every workplace and every worker becomes defined by four words: healthy, safe, and happy.

 

Read our full Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manifesto 2024.