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Workforce Health, Safety, and Wellbeing: A Cornerstone for Economic Growth

Safety PPE hanging up, hi-vis vests and hats

As the UK gears up for an impending General Election, the British Safety Council has stepped forward with a compelling manifesto aimed at placing workforce health, safety, and wellbeing at the forefront of economic growth initiatives.

In a society where the toll of work-related ill-health and workplace injuries is staggering, with an estimated loss of 32.5 million days in 2022/2023 alone, and sickness and illness costs soaring up to £77.5 billion annually, the urgency to address these issues has never been more pressing. Moreover, the toll on mental health, costing taxpayers an estimated £45 billion annually, underscores the need for comprehensive action.

Fifty years since the enactment of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), the British Safety Council is issuing a clarion call to all political parties and representatives to embark on a journey that would make the next 50 years the safest in the nation's history. Their 'Manifesto on Health, Safety, and Wellbeing' delineates seven pivotal calls across four key policy areas: regulation, wellbeing, technology and the future of work, and skills.

Among the key calls directed towards future UK Government are:

  1. Establishment of a dedicated Ministerial portfolio responsible for wellbeing, with cross-governmental responsibility for devising and executing a National Wellbeing Strategy.

  2. Provision of support for companies investing in innovative technologies (e.g., AR, VR, AI) to enhance health, safety, and wellbeing standards, enabling them to offset up to five percent of annual investment.

  3. Inclusion of health, safety, and wellbeing training as a mandated requirement in a new 'Skills Tax Credit' program when reforms are introduced to skills-based education.

  4. Allocation of adequate funding for the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities with statutory duties for health and safety regulation and inspection.

Peter McGettrick, Chairman of the British Safety Council, emphasized the significance of this initiative, stating: "This is about putting health, safety, and wellbeing at the heart of economic growth, to ensure the UK remains economically competitive in the future. That will require everyone – from policymakers and political leaders to employers and staff – to commit to a future where economic growth and worker wellbeing actively support each other."

In essence, the British Safety Council's manifesto advocates for a holistic approach where the prosperity of the nation is intrinsically linked to the health, safety, and wellbeing of its workforce. As the nation charts its course forward, embracing these principles is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic imperative for sustained economic success and societal welfare.

This blog post first appeared on Search² at


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