By Claire West

Politicians will be urged today (Sunday) to quit “distorting perceptions” of workplace health and safety — or risk lives.

The political party conference season begins this weekend, in Brighton, with the Liberal Democrats, and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) wants a shift in the way the political elite talk about protecting people at work.

175 were killed at work in Britain last year, while many thousands more were injured or fell ill because of what they do for a living. The figures are too high and the Government should do more to drive them down, said IOSH.

Yet, in the debate on red tape and the drive to support business, the UK’s system of health and safety regulations has been branded a “burden”.

This autumn, IOSH will meet with politicians at all three of the main political party conferences to make the case that good, sensible health and safety is a driver for economic growth.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said: “People’s perceptions of reality can be distorted, so crazy stories about health and safety are believed. We need to show these are not true and we must begin with those who can influence how we protect people at work.

“Changing perceptions and myth-busting is something we need to do more of, challenging those who mis-use or mis-apply regulations and bring health and safety into disrepute.

“Government should champion the benefits of good health and safety regulation, instead of dismissing it as a ‘burden’ on business.

“IOSH supports streamlining and simplification, but not the lowering of standards. Good health and safety saves lives, supports business and sustains the economy.”