The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has published a progress report on the implementation of health and safety reforms. The report acknowledges Professor Löfstedt’s assessment of the Government’s progress in reforming UK health and safety law, one year on from his report published on 28 November 2011 by the DWP.
Professor Löfstedt’s 2011 report - titled ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent Review of health and safety legislation’ - made recommendations for the fundamental overhaul of the UK health and safety regulatory system. The remit of Professor Löfstedt’s report was set out by Lord Young of Graffham’s report, ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’, recommending a general consolidation of health and safety regulations.
The DWP’s recent report sets out progress made in 2012 and indicates an end date in 2013, by which time the recommended steps should be complete. The report considers a number of broad areas: the scope of health & safety legislation; the application of health and safety legislation; engaging with the EU; simplifying the regulatory framework; and the enforcement of health and safety regulations.
A number of consultations were conducted during 2012 and changes made, such as the highly publicised amendments to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. Legislative changes made in April 2012 extended the relevant reporting period from three days to seven days, where an employee is unable to carry out normal work duties as a result of a work place accident. HSE consultation on further amendments is scheduled for completion by October 2013.
Similarly, the HSE’s review of all Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) began in 2012, with a consultation period between June and September 2012. With an end date of November 2013, and an aim of achieving certainty, the HSE will have published six ACOPs, removed six by consolidation and withdrawn three in their entirety.
In a further effort to simplify the regulatory framework, the HSE is also reviewing existing legislation in a number of areas including Biocides, Petroleum, Mining, Explosives and Generically Modified Organisms. Draft regulatory packages are expected and a consultation on Biocidal Products began on 20 December 2012.
Consideration is also given by the DWP to the implementation of recommendations in Lord Young of Graffhams earlier report. Lord Young’s report made 35 recommendations of which 23 have already been fully implemented; and 12 of which directly impacted on small businesses. The DWP’s report indicates that the outstanding recommendations are moving towards delivery or are awaiting implementation in 2013.
Professor Löfstedt has endorsed the work carried out to date, expressing confidence that the perception of health and safety as an unnecessary bureaucratic burden is changing.