Management Regs ACoP up for withdrawal in streamlining proposals
The HSE has embarked on a huge consultation exercise aimed at revising, consolidating, or withdrawing 15 Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs) by the end of next year.
A further 15 ACoPs have been earmarked for minor revisions, or to be left untouched, for delivery in 2014.
The Executive proposes to withdraw the ACoP for the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and replace it with a set of more specific, updated guidance. Two ACoPs – ‘L117 Rider-operated lift trucks: Operator training’ and ‘L130 The compilation of safety data sheets’ – have been identified for revision, or withdrawal without consultation.
The consultation exercise meets a recommendation outlined by Professor Löfstedt, in his review of health and safety legislation, ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all’, for the HSE to review its 52 ACoPs by June this year. With 32 ACoPs considered in the initial consultation phase, the remaining 20 have not yet been reviewed, as they are subject to ongoing sector-specific consolidation exercises, or other regulatory amendments.
ACoPs provide practical guidance on complying with the general duties of the HSWA 1974, or the requirements of certain regulations. Although not law, they do have a special legal status, and duty-holders can be confident that if the advice contained in the documents is followed in relevant circumstances, then they will be legally compliant.
Reform of the Management Regulations ACoP – one of the most significant proposals – was suggested by both Professor Löfstedt and Lord Young, in his 2010 report, ‘Common sense, common safety’.
This ACoP currently provides explanation of the Regulations, and gives definitions and principles to be applied in complying with them. In most cases, there is no one recommended method to be used to achieve compliance and, consequently, the ACoP does not describe methods of compliance with sufficient precision for duty-holders to be certain they have complied with their legal obligations.
It is proposed that the ACoP should be replaced by structured guidance, including:
- Health and safety made simple;
- Revised guidance previously branded as ‘Essentials’;
- Revised ‘Five steps to risk assessment’; and
- Managing for health and safety (HSG65).
It is expected that this approach will provide comprehensive advice for businesses, particularly SMEs, and safety representatives on how to comply with the law in a way that is much more specific than the current ACoP.
In a further move aimed at improving simplification and understanding, the overall consultation process includes a proposal to limit all ACoP documents to a maximum length of 32 pages, other than in exceptional circumstances.
To view all the relevant documentation, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd241.htm The deadline for comments is 14 September.
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