BOHS, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection, has announced its backing for a new Health and Work Strategy, recently unveiled by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with the aim of tackling lung disease, stress and musculoskeletal disorders in Britain’s workplaces.

As it outlined the new Health and Work Strategy, the HSE highlighted statistics which indicate that work-related illness affected around 1.3 million workers last year, with nearly 26 million working days lost because of it.

Commenting on the issue, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection warned that the role of lung disease within Britain’s occupational ill health burden cannot be overstated, considering that each year there are around 12,000 deaths as a result of work-related respiratory exposures, accounting for a massive 90% of the total number of deaths caused by work-related diseases.

With these concerns in mind, on 28 April 2015, Workers’ Memorial Day, BOHS launched its Breathe Freely initiative, aimed at controlling exposures to prevent occupational lung disease in the construction industry.

Subsequently, BOHS has confirmed that a new Breathe Freely initiative for the manufacturing sector will be launched on Workers’ Memorial Day in April 2017, to run in tandem with the Society’s existing construction-based focus.

The HSE has published its new Health and Work Strategy in the form of an interactive online web page which allows all stakeholders, including employers, employees, professional and expert bodies and colleagues in Government, to engage in the discussion by means of digital webinars, e-mail bulletins and social media links.

The online page can be used to not only view and download the Strategy, but also to post views and comments. In addition, companies can share their own best practice examples based on their organisations’ contributions to improving health at work.

Commenting on the Breathe Freely initiatives in the context of the HSE’s new Health and Work Strategy, Steve Perkins, Chief Executive of BOHS, said, “We are delighted to support the HSE’s new Health and Work Strategy. These new plans have the potential to transform the way we treat health in British workplaces, and the resources of both our Breathe Freely initiatives – for the construction and manufacturing sectors – are most definitely available for use within the new HSE plans. As a nation, we face an enormous challenge –  to learn to manage health like safety –  and the HSE’s new Health and Work Strategy offers an overarching and timely blueprint to help make these changes.”