In a previous article we talked about the Health and Safety Executive’s plans to Help Great Britain Work Well. In this article we cover the Health and Safety Executive’s Business Plans for 2016/17. This plan outlines what the HSE, in their role as the national regulator and catalyst in the system, will deliver in 2016/17.
The UK has an excellent health and safety record and this record continues to improve year after year. This is in part due to the UK’s health and safety laws and the HSE in enforcing them. Each year the HSE work to improve the UK’s health and safety record as there is always room for improvement.
Health and Safety Executive Two-Fold Path To Improve H&S
The HSE have stated “We want to continue to lead the way and establish a 21st-century, world-class occupational health and safety system. That is why we have talked to stakeholders across the system to develop real ownership of the ‘Helping Great Britain work well’ strategy, so everyone involved can play their part.
The HSE will continue to take its responsibility as the prime mover, working with co-regulators, colleagues across government and other stakeholders to deliver healthier, safer workplaces. This plan outlines what HSE, in our role as the national regulator and catalyst in the system, will deliver in 2016/17.”
The HSE have outlined their objectives for 2016/17 below based on their commitment to H&S:
Lead and engage with others to improve workplace health and safety
The HSE are committed to working closely with companies and people who are responsible for or influence health and safety. The HSE will seek to change behaviour through guidance, raising awareness and leadership. They do this by:
- Bringing together existing evidence on work-related ill health and publishing ill-health strategy to prioritise future activities.
- Reviewing the effectiveness of their communications with SMEs and identifingy subsequent actions needed.
- Refreshing and publishing sector strategies.
- Developing a revised approach to creating and publishing guidance, ensuring it is proportionate, meets the needs of users and makes best use of digital channels.
- Identifying and actively engaging with significant initiatives linking to the themes of ‘Helping Great Britain work well’ that are led by others.
- Providing an effective regulatory framework across domestic and European regulation.
The HSE has done extensive work to simplify and streamline legislation and improve guidance. They have removed or improved 84% of legislation without lowering standards. The HSE is also responsible for negotiating the best possible outcome for the UK in the European Union. They represent the UK government’s interests in a number of EU institutions by:
- Undertaking post-implementation reviews of key areas of regulation.
- Producing a set of options to support the deregulatory agenda, including a proposal on risk assessment and a review of the legislative requirements for plant and equipment inspection.
Secure effective management and control of risk
HSE’s primary focus is on the health and safety of workers and making sure effective risk management are in place across all businesses and intervening to bring risk management practices up to date where required. It also means holding to account those who fail to meet their obligations to protect people from harm. This includes:
- Engaging with SMEs affected by REACH registration deadlines.
- Commencing work to digitally enable the provision of asbestos licensing.
- Targeting inspection activity on risk reduction including sustaining focus on health risks.
- Sustaining improvement in the timely completion of investigations.
- Refreshing, testing and launching communications materials relating to inspection and enforcement.
Reduce the likelihood of low-frequency, high-impact catastrophic incidents
Many of the UK’s companies are highly specialised and while they are strategically important to the country’s economy and social infrastructure, they can potentially cause great harm to their workers, the environment and the public if not properly managed. The HSE is working with these companies (and all others) to reduce the numbers of health and safety accidents where there is the potential for extensive harm to workers and the public. They are:
- Focussing on leadership, worker involvement, competence and asset integrity – key elements across all major hazard sectors.
- Embedding the new Offshore Directive regime, SEVESO III Directive and COMAH 2015 Regulations through the respective joint Competent Authorities, and complete the reassessment of safety cases and safety reports.
- Proactively engaging with industry bodies and other regulators across all of the major hazards sectors to ensure ongoing focus on safe production and improved major-hazard management, while keeping abreast of industry changes and responding accordingly.
As previously mentioned the health and safety record in the UK is one of the best in the world but that’s no reason to rest on our laurels. Company technology and processes are constantly changing and health and safety practices must keep up with them if we are to ensure the UK continues to be seen as a world leader in H&S.