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Salus populi suprema lex esto

In 106 BCE a Roman philosopher and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in Arpino, modern day Italy. He was to become one of Ancient Rome's most famous politicians, in opposition to Mark Anthony after the assassination of Julius Caesar.

What, you may think, has this to do with health and safety?

In one of Cicero's most famous works, dating from 50 BCE, the De Legibus (On the Laws), he writes in his native Latin Salus populi suprema lex esto, which roughly translates as “The safety of the people shall be the highest law."

It is one of the most effective quotes by any politician in history, and it is still relevant today (although technically equality laws take priority over health and safety laws).

Many businesses do not see health and safety as a requirement, yet it is. Laws are in place to protect workers, and the public from what you do in your working life. It is not a nice to have, or something to do when you have a minute or two. The safety of the people should be considered in everything you do in your business. It is the law!

Source: Salford City Council website

Salus populi suprema lex esto is so relevant today that it is the state motto of Missouri, and is on the coat of arms of many UK towns and cities, including the City of Salford (shown here), the London Borough of Lewisham, Eastleigh, Harrow, Lytham St. Anne's, Tipton, Mid Sussex, West Lancashire, Swinton and Pendlebury, Urmston and Willenhall.

Health and safety is nothing new. Something written nearly 2100 years ago is just as relevant today as it was then.

So as you go about your daily business, remember to follow the words of Cicero. The safety of your workers, your clients, your visitors and guests, and the safety of the public is your responsibility. The highest laws of the land say so.

If you need help meeting this responsibility then contact KSH Safety Services today.


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