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Annual Science Review 2019

Abstract

Having a robust evidence base enables us to tackle real issues causing pain and suffering in the workplace. Critically, it enables us to better understand developing issues and ways of working to ensure that we support innovation, rather than stifle it through lack of knowledge. For example, the work on the use of 3D printers in schools demonstrates HSE’s bility to engage and understand the risks to encourage safe innovation in a developing area (see p47).

Other examples in this report show just a selection of the excellent work carried out by our staff, often collaborating with others, which contributes to improving how we regulate health and safety risks proportionately and effectively.

One of HSEs key priorities is to prevent future cases of occupational lung disease by improving the management and control of hazardous substances. The case study on measuring Respirable Crystalline Silica exposure contributes to this, and to recognise developing and future issues, such as the work on diacetyl in the coffee industry (see p24 and p39). This type of scientific investigation gives our regulators good, trusted, information
enabling critical decisions on the actions needed to protect workers.

The case study on publishing new guidance on the use of Metalworking Fluids (MWF) demonstrates the important contribution of collaborative science to improving regulation. If used inappropriately exposure to MWF mist can cause serious long-term lung disease and it was recognised that users needed help to control this risk. HSE scientists and regulators worked with industry stakeholders to produce new, free, guidance which reflects changes in scientific understanding in a practical easy to use guide. As well as enabling users to better manage the risks, and as a bonus likely save money, it has assisted regulation by providing clear benchmarks for all to judge control against. An excellent example of science contributing to controlling serious health risks (see p22).

These case studies are excellent examples of how science contributes to reducing risk. Hopefully they will inspire you to think about how risk in your workplace could be improved and where further work might be needed.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United Kingdom
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2019-03-01
2021-10-24
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