3 March, 2024

British Safety Council explores the nature of health & safety leadership at International Forum on Work Safety

26 October, 2016

The 8th International Forum on Work and Safety, which took place in Beijing, China, from 27 to 29 September, brought together health & safety professionals, business leaders and government officials to share their achievements, as well as the latest trends and developments in health & safety worldwide.

Speaking on 28 September 2016, Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council, presented the business case for the proportionate management of health & safety, as well as exploring the nature of leadership in the industry.

Improving record

The forum, hosted by China’s State Administration of Work Safety and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), demonstrates the country’s continuous efforts to reduce the toll of workplace injury and ill health and its improving record in occupational safety & health.

Robinson commented: “The global cost of health & safety failures in the workplace is still unacceptably high. Every day, 6300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases, which is over 2.3 million deaths per year. This amounts to approximately 4% of global GDP each year, and provides an overwhelming economic reason to protect workers.

“International health & safety conferences, such as the Forum in Beijing, are proof that although health & safety records vary throughout the world, there is a lot of good will and resources to share experience and best practice for the benefit of employees and employers worldwide.”

At the Forum in Beijing, Robinson described how a company can create an environment where employees are encouraged and supported to identify potentially dangerous situations and recommend solutions for improvement that would prevent future accidents.

He argued that to encourage such positive employee engagement in health & safety, the management needs to inspire them with passion and dedication, which are the qualities of true leaders.


“Really good leaders are truly inspirational,” he continued. “Their passion and dedication drives people to follow them and to adopt similar beliefs and ideas. They inspire others, not just because of what they say but because of what they do.”

Robinson added that it makes business sense too. “The British Safety Council’s report into the business benefits of health and safety shows that with investment comes higher productivity, less sickness absence and more social harmony. It really is money well spent,” he said.

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