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IOSH has submitted proposals to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, calling for recognition of the importance of occupational safety and health (OSH) in revitalising and rebuilding an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposals position OSH not only as key to combatting the pandemic, but also as a guiding principle for the future of work.

To protect lives and livelihoods, IOSH calls for improved resourcing for the work of important Government functions. These include the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which enforces the regulatory framework and provides guidance; the Work and Health Unit, which supports those with health conditions and workforce health and wellbeing; and the Department of Health and Social Care, which helps implement COVID-19 security arrangements, such as test-track-isolate systems and the provision of personal protective equipment. Furthermore, IOSH proposes increased public health awareness campaigns.

Richard Jones, IOSH Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement, said: “To help address the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond, we call on the Government and HM Treasury to support the urgent action we have proposed to protect lives and livelihoods and improve workforce health and prosperity.

“We know that good work is good for health and wellbeing and that positive feelings about work have been linked to higher productivity and profitability, as well as customer and worker loyalty, and we’re calling for ongoing health and safety commitment, resourcing and capacity-building.”

As well as immediate responses to the pandemic, IOSH believes that significant Government Department spending is needed to build long-term OSH skills and capacity. It emphasises that by supporting effective OSH management, work can be both productive and good for health and wellbeing.

IOSH recommends that Government trade deals and major investments and infrastructure projects – for example, the plans for broadband provision, green technologies and housing programmes – should all embed effective OSH principles at the design and agreement stage, to help ensure reliable delivery and support productivity.

In addition, IOSH suggests that incentivising responsible business conduct, corporate social responsibility and high-quality corporate occupational health provision will all have a net positive impact in supporting individuals and businesses, as well as economic renewal.

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