HSE Chair, Judith Hackett, delivered a speech in December regarding the future of Health and safety following Lord Young’s report, which was published in October 2010 and summarised in our last Newsletter.
Implementing Lord Young’s proposals
In the speech, Ms Hackett indicated that HSE was in support of Lord Young’s recommendations. HSE has already launched simple online risk assessments for offi ces and shops and Ms Hackett stated that similar online tools were in development for classrooms. Such tools are intended to reduce the red tape for low-risk businesses and corresponding costs, as recommended by Lord Young.
Another of Lord Young’s proposals concerned standards in the health and safety industry. To that end, HSE together with a number of stakeholders including IOSH and CIEH, have developed the Occupational Safety Consultants register which is intended to provide businesses with confi dence in the industry. The Register should be up and running in January 2011 after which HSE envisages that it will be maintained by industry stakeholders. Similarly, a consultation on proposals to amend the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 is soon to commence and is reported separately in this Newsletter.
Managing the Comprehensive Spending Review
Ms Hackett also addressed the impact the Comprehensive Spending Review will have on HSE. HSE is to cut its dependence on public funding by a minimum of 35% over the next four years. Ms Hackett stated that government funding currently represents about two thirds of HSE’s budget – the other third coming from regulated industries.
HSE plans to make savings by a mix of operational effi ciency measures and new charges currently being considered. Under one of the proposals, HSE would operate a “fee for fault” principle where businesses would be charged for work done by HSE in the issuing of notices or other actions where breaches or improvements are identifi ed. Also under consideration are ways to charge for non-statutory advice given to employers, HSE’s input on planning matters and extending existing charges on businesses operating major hazard sites to other businesses that receive similar regulatory oversight.