Addressing key issues within the health and safety sector.
In the work environment health may be given less attention than safety. Most engineers and technicians understand the need to pay attention to safety risks, but perhaps have very little idea about the hazards and costs (both human and financial) associated with health risks.
Every week in the UK about a million people take sick leave. For most it is a case of a couple of days off due to a cold, or flu, before getting back to work. However, around three thousand will still be sick in six months-time and of those a proportion will not work again in the next five years. The longer term problems may be physical due to consequences of industrial accidents or, for example, migraines and diabetes; or mental, for example, depression or stress.
The continuity and financial impact on business from such health issues within its workforce are substantial. Government estimates put the costs of disability-related payments (accidents and ill-health) to the UK economy at around £10-15bn a year.
In addition to reducing their personal exposure to occupational health and safety risks, engineers and technicians have a responsibility to reduce the occupational health and safety risks posed to others by their designs, installations, maintenance work, and general conduct activities. The Panel aims to bring the issues to the attention of IET members and to provide convenient access to the wealth of health and safety advice available.
The Panel was instrumental in the development and publication of the acclaimed “Code of Practice for Electrical Safety Management” from IET Standards.
Current work-streams are to produce health and safety risk management guidance for engineers and technicians in their initial years of work; and considering broader topics such as the health and safety responsibilities in projects involving contractors. These are in addition to maintaining and enhancing the portfolio of IET health and safety briefings and factfiles.
Please note that the group cannot offer advice on particular health and safety problems.
Members with such questions are advised to contact the IET’s Connect service.