Safety body launched strategy to cut number of deaths and injuries in the workplace today

The Health and Safety Executive launched its new strategy to cut deaths and injuries in the workplace today, as over 25% of businesses said they felt pressure to slash spending on health and safety in the downturn.

James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, launched the strategy in Westminster this morning.

The renewed safety drive comes as the safety body released results from its survey revealing the recession could leave workplaces more dangerous, with one in four business leaders admitting their organisations would face pressure to cut the health and safety budget in the downturn.

Meanwhile, just one in five employees thought it likely that their employer would cut corners on health and safety owing to the recession.

The strategy is part of an continuing campaign to improve safety throughout the workplace.

One of the key parts of the new drive will be the availability of codes of practice and help for SMEs on improving safety within their business.

These documents are largely purchased by SMEs, but speaking at the launch, Judith Hackitt, chair of the HSE, said about Åí1m worth of documents would be made publicly available on the safety body's website. ÅgIt may take a while to get it all onto the website,Åh she said. ÅgBut it will eventually all be free to downloadÅh.

James Purnell said: ÅgThere are too many clich_s about the role of 'health and safety' in our society. The fact that some people go out to work and never return home to their families is a human tragedy. The new HSE strategy recognises that a significant challenge now faces everyone with a stake in health and safety.Åh

The safety body is now asking organisations to sign up to the new strategy pledge, which already includes firms such as Corus, BAA and Energy Networks Association.