HSE Plans for Improving Workplace Health in 2017

Following on from our recent blog discussing the government’s new emphasis on health as a result of its comprehensive whitepaper, we thought we’d follow up with news on what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is planning to do to further these aims throughout the rest of 2017.

There are four main subsets of the ongoing strategy as published on the HSE website. We will explain each below:

Helping Great Britain Work Well

This first initiative is working to improve and expand on the already impressive work health and safety record of the UK. Increasing productivity is also a major focus. There are six main subsets to this strategy;

  1. Acting together: Promoting broader ownership of health and safety in Great Britain
  2. Tackling ill health: Highlighting and tackling the costs of work-related ill health
  3. Managing risk well: Simplifying risk management and helping business to grow
  4. Supporting small employers: Giving SMEs simple advice so that they know what they have to do
  5. Keeping page with change: Anticipating and tackling new health and safety challenges
  6. Sharing our success: Promoting the benefits of Great Britain’s world-class health and safety system

HSE Business Plan 2017/18

This second agenda discusses the HSE’s main business plan. In it, the challenge of improving on an already excellent health and safety record whilst adapting to the changing world around us is detailed. Specific priorities mentioned as part of this plan include;

  • Capitalising on enthusiasm and collaboration toward health and safety
  • Ensuring the regulatory framework remains effective
  • Securing effective risk management and control
  • Reducing the likelihood of low frequency, high impact, catastrophic incidents
  • Emphasising ill-health with a focus on respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational stress and mental health
  • Ensuring value for money by reducing reliance on government funding
  • Bringing together effective collaboration and expertise across HSE

Sector Plans

This third plan illustrates how Great Britain’s workplaces have been split into 19 sectors based on industry type and risk profiles. The actions for each sector include;

  • Leading and engaging with others to improve health and safety
  • Providing an effective regulatory framework
  • Securing effective management and control of risk
  • Reducing the likelihood of low-frequency, high-impact catastrophic incidents

Health and Work Strategy Plans

Lastly, priorities in the area of health and work strategy plans include work-related stress, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung disease.

To this end;

  1. Work-related stress accounts for 37% of all work-related ill-health cases
  2. Musculoskeletal disorders accounts for 41% of all work-related ill-health cases and 34% of all working days lost due to ill-health
  3. Occupational lung disease continues to lead to an estimated 12,000 deaths a year

These statistics and an eagerness to improve in these areas form much of the reasoning behind their focus.


For each of the 4 areas above, there are ways in which the valuable work we do at BIA UK and the delivery of occupational physiotherapy to our clients can contribute to achieving the goals of the HSE. The aims and initiatives being proposed by the HSE align with our values as a health provider too and we look forward to playing our part in reducing the incidence and effect of musculoskeletal illness in Britain’s workplaces.