BOHS announces meeting with the Welsh Parliament to promote worker health protection in Wales and save Welsh lives

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), a scientific charity and the Chartered Society for worker health protection, is delighted to announce a meeting on 4th July 2023 at Senedd Cymru (The Welsh Parliament) to mark its 70th anniversary and highlight the potential for promoting Occupational Hygiene and Asbestos awareness in Wales.

76,000 Welsh women and men suffer from preventable illness caused by their work. The direct cost to Wales of this burden of illness is over £500m per year. Aside from the cost in human terms – of wasted lives and skills – there are additional indirect costs in health and social care, fiscal impacts and on costs to business effectiveness amounting to 1.6 million days of work lost.

The Society will highlight that the burden of workplace ill-health is worse in Wales than in other nations in the UK and that it is a major cause of economic inactivity. Worse still, the burden falls more heavily on women than men. Based on ONS statistics 7% of the potential male Welsh workforce are economically inactive because of occupational illnesses and a staggering 13% of potential women workers.

BOHS has been at the forefront of advancing occupational hygiene standards and practices since 1953. In advance of the meeting, the Society will be writing to Senedd members, Cabinet Members and Ministers in Wales to highlight how they can use developed powers to save Welsh lives and reduce the burden on health and social care.

As part of its anniversary celebrations, BOHS aims to strengthen its collaboration with the Welsh Assembly and raise awareness about the importance of occupational hygiene and asbestos control in Wales. The Society is reaching out to the Senedd to discuss strategies, opportunities, and initiatives to enhance workplace health across various industries in Wales.

In addition to the meeting, BOHS is pleased to extend an invitation to all members in the area to join them for an informal gathering. This pre-meeting celebration will be an excellent opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing. Participants will have the chance to engage with industry experts, exchange ideas, and build valuable connections.

BOHS President Alex Wilson, said: “As we celebrate 70 years of BOHS promoting worker health protection, we are excited to meet with Senedd Members. Occupational hygiene, the science of workplace health protection, was critical to reducing the burden of ill-health in traditional Welsh industries. We need to carry those lessons forward into contemporary workplaces. Together, let’s continue raising the bar for workplace health protection in Wales and beyond.”

Professor Kevin Bampton, CEO of BOHS, underlined the importance of the event, stating, “Wales demonstrated in its management of COVID how serious public health issues could be tackled using devolved powers. The Senedd has the opportunity to significantly impact the future health of the Welsh population by seeking to tackle preventable workplace health risks and the blight of asbestos. Our Report provides key examples which can save lives and money and boost the economy, while reducing the burden on health and social care.”

The pre-meeting celebration will take place on Monday 03 July 2023, 19:30pm at The Coal Exchange Hotel, Building Bay, The Exchange, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5FQ. All BOHS members in the area, as well as professionals with a keen interest in occupational hygiene, are cordially invited to attend this free event. More information and to the link to book a place is here.

The BOHS Report, “Saving Welsh Lives: Actions for the Welsh Government to Prevent Workplace Illness” is available here: English version Welsh version