The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has called on local authorities across the country to make a “statement of commitment” to work with others to improve health and safety standards in the sectors they regulate.

The call follows figures, collected by Britain’s workplace health and safety watchdog, which show failures in the management of occupational health and safety in business sectors enforced by a local authority result in more than 100,000 new cases of ill health, 5000 major injuries and the deaths of around 10 workers each year.

Local authorities predominantly cover the retail, consumer services, entertainment and warehousing/supply chain sectors. These sectors collectively account for two-thirds of all business premises — around half of the total British workforce.

In its statement, the HSE said, “Many of those harmed are vulnerable workers not provided with reasonable workplace protection, and around 15 members of the public, including children are killed each year in avoidable incidents because of workplace activity”.

The HSE added that many local authorities in Britain face “a challenging environment” that impacts on the way they deliver a wide range of regulatory services and statutory duties.

In order to address this, a statement of commitment (SoC) has been developed by the HSE and local authority representative bodies across Britain.

The SoC has been designed to strengthen and maintain commitment to delivery of councils’ legal duty as enforcers of workplace health and safety and asks that local authorities collaborate with other bodies to deliver solutions to keep workers safe.

The statement has been endorsed by HSE’s Board, the Local Government Association (LGA), the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and the Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland (SOCOEHS).

Councillors, chief executives and heads of regulatory services in local authorities are also being encouraged to publicly commit to the SoC and embed the principles within their service plans.

Last reviewed 8 July 2019