Birkbeck launches new Centre for Sustainable Working Life

Centre will focus on the role of employers in supporting staff in healthy and safe working lives

On Tuesday 25 June, the School of Business, Economics and Informatics at Birkbeck launched the new Centre for Sustainable Working Life with a panel debate, as part of Business Week 2013.

Professor Tom Cox CBE, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life, began the afternoon’s event by introducing the Centre and its initial research areas. He presented an overview of five areas of research:

  • good practice in health and safety at work and psychosocial risk management,
  • cancer survivorship and working life,
  • psychological interventions in natural disaster situations, retail safety culture and performance,
  • safety and financial performance in the European retail sector,
  • pharmaco-safety.

Linking research with practice

The event continued with a panel discussion with Professor Tom Cox , Ceri Jones and Dr Juliet Hassard from the Centre. They were joined by Declan Cunningham, Environment, Health and Safety Executive for the Primark Group, who has been working with the Centre on a project to understand the relationship between good health and safety performance and the financial performance of its stores, and Dr Malgozrata Milaczarek, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, who has been working with the Centre to harvest, evaluate and disseminate practical information on good practice in health and safety management across Europe.

The Right Time

Professor Philip Dewe, Vice-Master of Birkbeck and Deputy Director of the Centre for Sustainable Working Life, was chairing the panel and said: “The Centre for Sustainable Working Life has been launched at a very interesting time for both organizational psychology and work-related health. If we think about the change and turmoil of recent times we see that the prevailing economic models, by focusing solely on organizational competitiveness, paid little attention to the social and human costs of such an approach. We are now beginning to witness a shift in emphasis and a move towards models that emphasise the positive, that focus on individual growth, well-being and what allows individuals to flourish at work. At the same time, questions are being asked about the roles of employing organisations and the health and social care systems in supporting those individuals in healthy and safe working lives. With the launch of the new Centre for Sustainable Working Life, Birkbeck will continue to work at the forefront of these new trends in the field.”

Business Week 2013

Business Week 2013 runs until Friday 28 June. For details of further events, please visit the Business Week webpage.