The Health and Safety Executive recently published its Delivery Plan for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. The 2011/2012 Plan follows the strategic framework laid out in the 2009 HSE strategy Be Part of the Solution and acknowledges the work that has been and needs to be done to implement Lord Young’s 2010 review of health and safety at work. A particular feature of the Plan is its consideration of adjustments that will need to be made to accommodate the 35% reduction in HSE’s budget following the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.

In the Plan, the HSE recognise that it must transform its approach in response to the budget cuts. In particular, it introduces the prospect of costs penalties where HSE intervene after having identified a material breach of the law requiring remedial action. It also suggests that the current charges levied on high hazard industries be extended to other hazardous industries that currently do not pay regulatory costs. Perhaps most worryingly, the HSE will consider “initiatives to seek more value from providing HSE’s expertise and involvement for those who wish to use it”. That suggests the introduction of charges for advice. The Health and Safety Laboratory may also be allowed to provide services to non-HSE customers.

Dealing with specific sectors, the HSE plan to conduct a review, jointly with DECC and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, of the UK offshore oil and gas regulatory regime against issues emerging form the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon incident. More specific regulatory duties may also be introduced for higher hazard emerging energy technologies, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), offshore wind and waste to energy.

The Delivery Plan makes provision for a number of HSE performance indicators, measured in terms of value for money, work outcome and Great Britain’s efficiency relative to other EU member states. The HSE seeks to maintain the UK’s position as one of the leading health and safety performers.

To view the HSE’s 2011/2012 Delivery Plan, please go to: strategiesandplans/delivery-plans/plan1112.pdf