It is 40 years since the Health and Safety at Work etc Act received Royal Assent and provided a new regulatory framework for work place health and safety in Great Britain.
The passage of the Bill to create the Act spanned two different Governments and had broad, all-party support.
The Act has helped make Britain one of the safest and healthiest places in the world to work, saving thousands of lives, preventing many more injuries at work and reducing the economic and social costs of health and safety failures.
The total number of work-related injuries has fallen by three quarters since it was introduced.
The number of people fatally injured doing their job now stands at a record low.
In part, this is due to changes in the nature of our economy (ie the reduction in manufacturing and mining) which accounts for half of the improvement.
However, the Act has made an undeniable and significant contribution to the improvements in risk management. The example of the Olympic new build – the first ever to be delivered without a fatality – shows how far we have come since 1974.
The Health and Safety at Work Act places responsibility on those who create risks to manage them in a proportionate, practical way.
It places ownership and responsibility for managing risk with the person who creates the risk whilst also giving a responsibility to every employee to look out for themselves and their colleagues.