The newly appointed president of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is sounding a rallying cry to the profession, urging a reevaluation of strategies to combat the “unacceptably high” incidence of work-related deaths, fatalities, and illnesses.
Stuart Hughes, now at the helm of IOSH, emphasises the pressing need for the occupational safety and health (OSH) sector to unite with businesses, governments, and other professions to address the global crisis, with an estimated 7,500 individuals succumbing to unsafe working conditions every day worldwide.
“We need to challenge ourselves, questioning the effectiveness of our current protective measures,” Hughes insists. “Our focus should be on ensuring that our actions are optimised for the benefit of society.”
Having officially assumed the role of IOSH President for the term 2023-24 following the recent AGM on November 15, Stuart Hughes, an accomplished OSH professional and chartered member of IOSH, currently serves as the head of health and safety for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team.
Over the next 12 months, Hughes aims to collaborate with IOSH and fellow OSH professionals to elevate global health and safety standards, foster thought leadership to tackle critical challenges, and actively support initiatives that create opportunities for the upcoming generation of professionals.
Highlighting the International Labour Organisation’s emphasis on a safe and healthy work environment as a fundamental right, Hughes expresses concern over the persistent high numbers of workplace deaths, accidents resulting in serious injuries, and health issues arising from exposure to hazardous materials.
Citing the mandate from the ILO and the intrinsic connection between OSH and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Hughes underscores the potential for IOSH to instigate change through collaboration with businesses, governments, and other professions.
In a call to action directed at all IOSH members, Hughes prompts reflection on their contributions to making workplaces safer and healthier. He encourages members to consider if there’s more they can do to ensure that every individual returns home from work daily safe, healthy, and content.
As Stuart Hughes assumes the role of President, Lawrence Webb transitions to the position of Immediate Past President. Concurrently, Kelly Nicoll takes on the role of president-elect, poised to succeed Hughes at the conclusion of 2024.