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What issues can WHEC consider?

WHEC is an expert advisory committee. It will provide independent expert opinion to the Health and Safety Executive, on: 

  • New and emerging workplace health issues
  • New and emerging evidence relating to existing workplace health issue
  • The quality and relevance of the evidence base on workplace health issues

WHEC is a science advisory committee whose purpose is to consider the evidence linking workplace hazards to ill health. It will consider chemical and physical hazards, and human, behavioural or organisational factors in the workplace (for example shift work) leading to physiological and psychological ill health. It will not consider wellbeing, sickness absence management or rehabilitation as these issues are dealt with elsewhere in government. Nor is it able to consider individual cases of ill health.

WHEC will assess the evidence base concerning health issues within its remit and will seek to effectively and appropriately communicate the resultant health risk.

To define the scope of the evaluation and identify specific questions to address WHEC may consider some or all of the following:

  • ·       What is the scale and the severity of ill health related to this issue
  • ·       What are the causes (work and non-work) and mechanisms of disease or ill health?
  • ·       Who is at risk (what work places, what work activities)?
  • ·       How many people work in jobs that expose them to risk?
  • ·       What is the current burden of ill health that is due to past work-related exposure?
  • ·       What is the relationship between exposure and disease or ill health?
  • ·       How does exposure vary, e.g with time, place or for different work activities?
  • ·       Do we understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat this ill health?
  • ·       What risk-reduction interventions are likely to be effective?
  • ·       How well can we estimate the future burden of this work-related ill health?
  • ·       How well can we estimate the cost of this work-related ill health to GB economy?

 For further guidance see the WHEC Constitution and the Evidence Framework