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January 15, 2014

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Triennial review ‘missed opportunity’ to improve enforcement consistency, says EEF

 

The triennial review of the Health and Safety Executive has missed an opportunity to look in more depth at establishing a unified health and safety agency to cover all workplace health and safety issues.

Responding to the publication of the independent review of the HSE last week, the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, expressed its disappointment that its proposal for a single workplace health and safety enforcement agency had not been taken forward.

The Department for Work and Pensions asked the EEF’s chair Martin Temple to carry out the first independent, triennial, review of the HSE’s function, form and governance in April 2013 and the EEF submitted evidence last year.

While the manufacturers’ organisation agreed with the report’s main conclusions, the EEF believes that it missed an opportunity to look in more detail at its proposal for a single workplace health and safety enforcement agency, which it argues would improve the consistency of enforcement.

“Although the personal view of the report’s author is that health and safety regulation should be enforced at all workplaces by the HSE, we believe that the report has missed an opportunity to look in more depth at establishing a unified health and safety agency (including local authorities) to cover all workplace health and safety issues,” said Terry Woolmer, head of health and safety policy at EEF.

“We recognise the practical issues around this but believe there was scope for the report to propose a feasibility study looking at this option.”

On a separate issue, the EEF also believes the report has missed the chance to make health and safety a greater part of the ‘business growth’ agenda, especially in Europe.

“Investment in HSE is of wider benefit to the UK economy and should in our view form part of the business ‘growth’ agenda,” added Woolmer. 

He said that the EEF would have liked to have seen the report target additional HSE resources in key areas, notably the provision of a HSE inspector manned advice line; more pro-active work in Europe to debate OSH EU initiatives; further HSE sponsored research; and increased levels of market surveillance to ensure a level playing field in relation to EU product directives.

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