Welcome to the History of Occupational Safety and Health website

Have you ever wondered how the UK became one of the safest places in the world to go to work?

If so, this website, which is hosted and constantly updated by Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd plus contributions by some members of RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) and others in the health and safety world, is the place for you.

The oldest full text document contained in the website is De Re Metallica which is 500 years old. More information about this website.

50th Anniversary of the Robens Report

In May 1970, Barbara Castle, Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity in the Labour Government, established a Committee of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Lord Robens into Safety and Health at Work. On 19 July 1972 the report of that Committee presented to Maurice Macmillan, Secretary of State for Employment under a new, Conservative Government was published. The recommendations contained in the “Robens report” were accepted by the government and led to a transformational change in the approach to managing work-related risks – in GB and beyond. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this report three papers have been prepared which consider its genesis, recommendations (and their implementation), and impact.

These can be found in the new section Reflections on Robens – fifty years after.

This website will be updated continually. Anyone with contributions to make should contact Sheila Pantry by email sp@sheilapantry.com

An invaluable resource for students, lecturers, trainers, health and safety professionals and others with a general interest in industrial history, the site sets out developments from the 1802 Factory Act all the way through to the most recent regulatory changes made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

It provides a wealth of information for those wishing to track the development of occupational safety and health, be they teaching or studying for professional or academic qualifications or carrying out other research, showing how this area has been at the heart of the UK’s industrial history.

Numerous pieces of legislation have been introduced over more than 200 years, covering a wide array of different industries, but their shared aim has been to ensure that workers can go home to their families safe and healthy at the end of each day.

It is important to value the history of occupational safety and health, not just to honour its pioneers but to develop a sense of perspective about what needs to be done to continue to tackle preventable harms associated with work, not just in Britain but around the world.


HOSH Flyer

To promote this website please print out this PDF flyer and display it around your organisation.