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Boardroom involvement vital to safe shopfloor - 01-06-2007
Bill Callaghan, Chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has called on business leaders in the major hazard industries to reinforce partnership working practices with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Competent Authority.

At the 12th International Symposium on Loss Prevention and Safety Promotion in Edinburgh, Mr Callaghan emphasized on the need and significance of board-level leadership and director responsibility on health and safety to achieve a cultural change towards safety and to control major hazard risks.

Challenging the industry to support and own HSC/E's aim to benchmark Great Britain as a world leader in the control of major hazards Mr Callaghan said, "I call upon the best of your leaders to come forward to work with the HSE and the Competent Authority to ensure that their values, their approach and achievements inspire and encourage others in the industry.

There are many lessons learnt from a series of high profile incidents such as Buncefield, BP Grangemouth, Conoco Philips in Humberside, Terra Nitrogen in Teesside and the THORP facility. The challenge is to show greater and stronger leadership and play a greater role in major incident control by engaging with your workforce to solve health and safety problems. The industry has a clear responsibility to ensure that risks are properly controlled to reduce the chances of incidents of this nature happening again."

Currently HSE together with its Competent Authority partners is engaging with industry stakeholders with the aim of setting up an onshore Major Hazards Group to promote leadership and to take on board the lessons learnt from the recent high profile incidents.

Efforts to encourage industry to embrace high standards of health and safety are at the core HSC/E's Chemical Industries Division's objectives:

  • To reduce the probability of a major hazard accident through interventions under the Control of Major Hazard Regulations,

  • To work with industry and stakeholders to ensure that people leave work at the end of the day in at least as good a state of health as when they started,

  • To provide advice on Land Use Planning issues on the basis of risks to people offsite from on-site operations.

Other divisions in HSE also continue to focus on putting health and safety high on boardroom agendas. HSE's Nuclear Directorate has produced principles on Leadership and Management for safety drawing upon lessons from world-wide events. HSE is using these principles to develop an integrated intervention strategy for application at corporate level within licensees. This will include more focus on influencing to achieve improvements to safety.

In conclusion, Mr Callaghan said, "Later this year we will be inviting major hazard stakeholders to a conference to address safety in your industry. This event will bring together all of the important players drawn from business, the trade unions, regulators and Government with the aim of showing how to achieve world class leadership in the control of major hazard risks. We need to make sure that our goal of becoming a world leader in the control of major hazards is achieved, not only in business terms, but also for the health and safety of those who work in the industry and for society."
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