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British Safety Council has a proud history of campaigning for the protection of people and the environment.

Today, skilled and knowledgeable people are at the heart of the modern economy, and employers are keen to support and retain them. Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened this focus too, particularly in sectors such as healthcare, hospitality and construction, where there is currently a dependence on skilled labour from other EU countries. Technological advances, and the changing nature of work, mean that many people can now operate effectively from any location with an internet connection. This can result in excessive working hours, but also allows  people to work much more flexibly to accommodate personal and family requirements. The gig economy is changing employment relationships as well, and an increasing number of people work remotely, outside of traditional workplaces and contracts, which can impact negatively on health and mental wellbeing.


British Safety Council was established in 1957 by James Tye. His vision in establishing the organisation was that “no-one should be injured or made ill at work” and he campaigned tirelessly in support of this. The vision remains just as relevant today despite very different economic and social conditions. 

The UK has seen significant improvements in workplace health and safety over the last 60 years. Fatalities and serious injuries have declined to an all-time low, but the needs of business are changing as we transition from an industrial to a professional and service-based economy. People are a key asset, and this is increasing the attention to health and wellbeing including the mental health of people in an often stressful world. 

Technology is advancing rapidly and changing the role that people play in the workplace. The boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘life’ are blurring as mobile technology, cloud-based computing and the gig economy become established. The population is ageing, and people are retiring later increasing the prevalence of chronic health conditions in the working population. 

World politics also has its impact. Economic fluctuations are driving changes in trading relationships across the world and a rise in minority extremism is raising the profile of both physical and cyber security. 

These changes present both significant opportunities and challenges for organisations, and British Safety Council remains committed to supporting them as they strive to create an environment in which both organisations and people can thrive.

We will:

  • Identify, promote and champion proportionate, proactive, effective management of health, as well as safety and environmental risk, as a positive enabler for people and for organisations 
  • Raise the profile of health, and in particular mental health, as key components of sustainable business practice, and promote a positive approach to wellbeing 
  • Seek opportunities to share UK best practice on an international stage, and to promote effective management of health and safety risk in new and developing economies 
  • Champion innovation, and lead the application of digital technology to enhance risk management, and promote best practice, in health, safety and environmental protection.

An exemplar

British Safety Council aims to conduct our business in line with the best practice models that we promote. We will invest in the development and wellbeing of our people to ensure that we are an employer of choice, and strive to adopt sustainable business practices.

We will:

  • Adopt a flexible approach to work which will facilitate open access to employment 
  • Invest in student centred learning to support ongoing development for our people 
  • Develop programmes to support the wellbeing and resilience of our people 
  • Invest in sustainable practices to reduce our environmental impact.

A respected voice in health and safety

British Safety Council will drive continuous development of societal knowledge and public awareness around the identification and proportionate control of risk related to health, safety and environmental matters, providing authoritative advice and thought leadership on current and emerging issues.

We will:

  • Direct research to identify and explore emerging risks and innovative control approaches across a wide spectrum of health and wellbeing as well as safety topics 
  • Monitor political, economic and social developments, and evaluate the challenges and opportunities that these present in the context of health, safety and environment 
  • Develop evidence based positions and guidance material and publicise these through multi-media channels to raise awareness, inform decision making and champion positive approaches to health, safety and environmental management 
  • Engage with stakeholders in business, politics, government, NGOs and the third sector to provide challenge, information and support on health, safety and environmental topics.

A facilitator of collaboration and engagement

British Safety Council will facilitate collaboration and promote sharing of information, experience and expertise in support of continuous improvement and the effective and proportionate management of health, wellbeing and sustainability, as well as safety.

We will:

  • Host collaborative forums to support sharing of information, experience and expertise on health, safety and environmental matters 
  • Promote effective management of health, safety and environment as a positive enabler for business 
  • Engage business leaders and key opinion formers to shape thinking on key issues 
  • Operate award schemes to celebrate excellence and achievement 
  • Collate and disseminate evidence based case studies to promote best practice 
  • Produce conferences, events and publications which feature expert opinion and provide thought leadership on evolving themes and topical issues.

An innovative educator

British Safety Council will provide high quality education and practical, skills based, learning to promote competence in wellbeing, safety and sustainability matters.

We will:

  • Maintain our accreditation as an Awarding Organisation 
  • Promote a student-centred approach to learning 
  • Utilise technology to offer an engaging and flexible learning experience 
  • Support a structured and skills based approach to competence development 
  • Develop sector specific learning and qualification pathways.

An advocate for young people

British Safety Council will support development knowledge and understanding of health, safety and environmental issues among young people, to promote effective management of risk and a positive approach to sustainability in the future workforce.

  • Utilise new media to engage young people in discussion of health, safety and environmental risk 
  • Provide a platform for investigation and discussion of the risk issues which are of concern to young people 
  • Support innovative approaches to education and competence building to enable young people to manage risk effectively 
  • Promote a positive approach to personal resilience among young people 
  • Support opportunities for work based learning which promotes a positive culture of safety, wellbeing and sustainability.

"We joined as a member because it is a source of information and support, and because it is a means of demonstrating our commitment to health and safety."

Paul Haxell Safety and Environment Director, Bovis Homes Ltd / Group Health, UK.