New Health and Safety Science Strategy

The British Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has launched consultation on the
draft HSC Science Strategy 2005-2008 - Gathering Evidence; Developing
Understanding; Identifying Solutions. The Strategy describes how both in-house
scientific expertise and commissioned science will be used to support the
strategic programmes, through which HSE will deliver the HSC Business Strategy.

The Strategy shows HSC's continued commitment to high quality scientific and
technological underpinning, which is essential in enabling HSE to continue to
be an effective regulator. The scientific expertise will come from Commissioned
Science and internal expertise from HSE and the Health and Safety Laboratory.

HSE's Chief Scientist Dr Paul Davies said:

"HSE regulates health and safety across a wide range of workplaces and industry
sectors, often involving technically complex processes and giving rise to a
diverse range of hazards and risks. It is essential therefore that HSE makes
the most effective use of its science and engineering resources to help achieve
the HSC's vision of a record of workplace health and safety that leads the

"The world of work is changing and HSE needs to anticipate and respond to these
changes. The new science strategy sees a continuation of the trend of recent
years towards more work in areas such as human factors, statistics and
evaluation and less in the more traditional areas. Newer areas of research
include Musculoskeletal Disorders and Stress. We recognise the maturity of some
areas of industry, such as major hazards, and will expect industry to do

The final version of the HSC Science Strategy will be published early in 2005.

1. The strategic programmes are:

Health and Safety Hazards ­ Falls from Height; Musculoskeletal Disorders; Work
Related Stress; Workplace Transport; Slips and Trips; Chemicals; Noise and Hand
Arm Vibration.

Sectors ­ Agriculture; Construction; Health Services; Government Setting an
Example; Manufacturing, Utilities, Services and Transport.

Better Health at Work Partnership - Occupational Health and Safety Support;
Corporate Responsibility and Accountability; Worker Involvement.

Local Authority Partnership

Major Hazards ­ Chemical Industries; Specialised Industries; Offshore; Rail;

2. The science strategy comprises the following main sections:

  • A set of principles for the strategic use of science, which set out for
    what purpose and in what ways science will be used;
  • The contribution that science can make to the strategic themes featured in
    the HSC strategy;
  • The research priorities for each of the Strategic Programmes through which
    HSE will seek to deliver the HSC strategy ­ Sectors, Health and Safety Hazards,
    Major Hazards, Local Authority Partnership and Better Health at Work
  • The ways in which we communicate details of our science activities;
  • Collaboration with other organisations across the UK, Europe and
    internationally that have an interest in the science relating to occupational
    health and safety;
  • Details of HSE's science system, dealing with in-house expertise, including
    the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) and externally commissioned research and

3. Themes common to all the Strategic Programmes (SP) are emerging:

  • Developing the evidence base;
  • Developing the understanding of the impact of HSE's interventions;
  • Establishing the intervention-effect business model for each SP,
    formulating agreed trajectories to show progress against the strategic targets
    and developing more robust indicators to measure progress against these
  • Getting greater involvement of stakeholders;
  • Understanding how to communicate better with our stakeholders.

4. As a result there will be increasing effort on statistical work, evaluation
and human factors. New initiatives include:

  • A new workplace health and safety survey to enhance our data on
    occupational injury and ill health;
  • Increased effort on horizon scanning to identify issues with the potential
    to change or present significant new workplace risks in the medium to long term;
  • A reduction in major hazards spend to reflect the mature status of these
  • Local Authorities will receive funding to pilot their use of HSL's
    scientific resources to support their delivery.

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive