Bishop urges employers to take health and safety seriously
The Bishop of Liverpool has urged employers to take health and safety seriously or risk putting workers' lives in danger.
On a fact-finding visit to the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE's) headquarters in Bootle, the Right Reverend James Jones heard about the toll of workplace illness and injuries.
Last year 151 people were killed while at work in Britain, and more than 100,000 suffered serious injuries. The Bishop of Liverpool met HSE staff at its offices on Merton Road to find out about the work taking place to reduce deaths and injuries in the future.
Bishop James said:
"We should not forget the reason why health and safety exists in the first place - to protect lives.
"Life is a glorious gift. The most terrible tragedy in all this is that so many of the deaths that occur in the workplace are entirely preventable - hundreds of lives are being lost and thousands of people seriously hurt because of basic failings.
"Safety at work is more than just a legal issue - it is a moral one too."
Earlier this year, the bishop highlighted the importance of good health and safety on BBC Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day'. The programme was broadcast on 28 April 2010 - the first time Workers' Memorial Day has been commemorated in the UK.
Judith Hackitt, the HSE Chair, said:
"I'm delighted that the Bishop of Liverpool has shown such a keen interest in health and safety, and has been so vocal about the importance of preventing work-related death and injury.
"In Merseyside alone, we have seen several prosecutions recently as a result of people being killed or suffering major injures in the course of doing their job. If those responsible for managing workplace risks had followed some basic health and safety principles then these injuries could have been prevented.
"Earlier this year, we unveiled a permanent memorial at our headquarters for the hundreds of workers who have been killed or seriously injured. It acts as a reminder to our staff of the importance of the job they do every day - and the ongoing need to educate employers about managing work-related risks sensibly and proportionately."
The Right Reverend James Jones paid his respects at the Workers' Memorial as part of his tour of HSE's headquarters in Bootle. The memorial was created by Liverpool artist Andrew Small and features the inscription 'Remember the Dead; Protect the Living'.
Information on health and safety in the workplace is available at www.hse.gov.uk.
Issued on behalf of HSE by COI News and PR North West
Sourse – HSE Website www.hse.gov.uk 9th November 2010 Release No. HSE/NW/Bishop