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Brexiteer named new safety minister

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘change can be good’. Well in the world of health and safety, we have a new minister in the latest frontbench reshuffle: Penny Mordaunt. Previously Minister for the Armed Forces, Mordaunt has moved to the Department for Work and Pensions to become Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, where one of her responsibilities is to oversee the HSE.

So what does the new minister know about health and safety? Of course she will have advisors to assist her, and in her previous post she was considered effective, with an affinity for the Armed Forces as she is a Royal Navy reservist.

Mordaunt’s political interests include “care and quality of life for the elderly, healthcare, defence, the arts and space”. And she has had some previous exposure to health and safety while at the Ministry of Defence when she apologised for the death of three army reservists from heat stroke in the Brecon Beacons last year.

“Promoting health and safety among employers is as important as ever. I will continue to work with the HSE to help create safer workplaces for people in the UK.”

Mordaunt will have a varied amount to deal with during her term in office as we are now laying the foundations for leaving the European Union; she campaigned for Brexit and will have input into future negotiations. The new safety minister will need to work with experts when dealing with EU health and safety legislation that has been transposed into UK law and those covering regulations for the disabled, work and health programmes, to ensure they are appropriate and continue to be fit for purpose in a post-Brexit UK.

When contacted by Insight, Mordaunt said “promoting health and safety among employers is as important as ever” and insisted she will continue to work with the HSE “to help create safer workplaces for people in the UK”.

An initiative that is gaining momentum and one we hope the minister will support is mental health in the workplace. IIRSM will look to work with Penny Mordaunt and her team to provide help and support where appropriate and to represent our members’ views to her.

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