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HSE launches new workplace health expert committee

HSE launches new workplace health expert committee

25 June 2015 Email this article

HSE has appointed a new committee to provide independent expert knowledge and advice on workplace health.

The workplace health expert committee (WHEC) will be made up of nine members who will provide expert opinion on emerging issues and trends, new evidence relating to existing issues and, on the quality and relevance of the evidence base on workplace health issues.

Working under the leadership of an independent expert Chair, the WHEC will provide scientific and medical advice to HSE’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research Professor Andrew Curran and to HSE’s Board.

The committee will also encourage collaborative working with stakeholders and partners whilst helping to identify issues of potential concern to Government Departments and business.

A particular area of interest for the WHEC will be the chemical and physical hazards and human behavioural or organisational factors in the workplace (such as shift work) that could lead to physiological and psychosocial ill health. It will not focus on wellbeing, sickness absence management or rehabilitation as these issues are dealt with elsewhere in government. The committee will not consider individual cases of ill health or disease.

Discussing the launch of WHEC, Professor Andrew Curran, said: “I’m very pleased to have secured such a world-class team of experts in workplace health issues which will supplement our own in-house expertise in this area.

“Our statistics show that around 13,000 people die each year from occupational lung disease and cancer as a consequence of past workplace exposures, primarily to chemicals and dusts. In addition, an estimated 1.2 million people who worked in 2013/14 were suffering from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by work, of which 535,000 were new cases which started in the year.

“I look forward to working with the Committee to help us develop new strategies to reduce these and other causes of workplace ill-health”.