The Health and Safety Executive has launched its Annual Science Review focusing on the work scientists and engineers do to support HSE’s regulatory activities.
HSE has over 850 science and engineering experts who use applied science, engineering and analysis to make a difference to the world of work.
This year’s Science Review also shows the technical and forensic support HSE provides to the investigation of workplace fatalities and other serious incidents.
It’s packed with case studies including how our work informs the safe use of desktop 3D printers in schools, international modelling of potential chlorine incidents at major hazard installations and supporting the development of the Space Industry Act.
The review uses the example of mental ill health to illustrate how HSE’s science and evidence strategy works. This area is an area of concern since one in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point and HSE’s statistics suggest that 15.4 million working days were lost in Great Britain due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/18.
Chief scientific adviser and director of research, Professor Andrew Curran, said:
“I’m delighted to launch our latest Science Review showcasing how we provide evidence to support how we regulate and how we work withother organisations in the UK and overseas. HSE has a very long and proud history of using science to support its work, going right back to the way the first Factory Inspectors gathered data back in 1833, and the development of a research capability by Winston Churchill in 1911.
“This year’s review shows many examples of how science is contributing to controlling serious health and safety risks and how evidence from our impartial forensic investigation specialists is used to secure justice.
“I’m really pleased that we are able to tell you about some of our staff and how they apply their knowledge and experience to solve difficult problems. This year we have also been proud to show our support for the year of engineering and for the centenary of votes for some women when we celebrated the impact women have had on science and regulation in the workplace.
“We are particularly pleased that our partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (see p5) will help us to protect the future by learning from past investigations and designing out potential health and safety issues.
“I hope that you enjoy reading the Annual Science Review and that it helps to demonstrate to you how we use science to enable a better working world.”