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July 8, 2014

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Unions fear “privatisation of HSE”, The Independent reports

The Health and Safety Executive is set to bring in bosses from the commercial sector in a move that unions believe could lead to the privatisation of the regulator, The Independent has reported.
Martin Temple’s review of HSE this year was critical of the body’s fee for intervention (FFI) regime and urged the government to look for ways to make a profit out of other parts of its work.
Some of the recommendations included developing an improved commercial model for the Health and Safety Laboratory, which provides technical support to HSE investigations. 
The Independent has quoted an ‘insider’ from HSE as saying: “The Government is exploring options for the growth of the services provide by HSE and the Laboratory to the outside world. Some of the work in the coming months will include looking at using external partners overseas and employing people [abroad] on different terms and conditions rather than using a civil servant.”
In the Government’s response to Temple’s review, Mike Penning, minister of state for disabled people, said the they intended to “go further” with the recommendations to allow HSE to become “more commercial”.
As well as bringing in directors with commercial expertise, this could also include partnering with organisations overseas to help HSE sell health and safety advice to international governments.
Unison’s head of health and safety, Tracey Harding, has said that such moves could result in “taking expertise from HSE in order to make money”. 
HSE has been asked to report in the autumn over the feasibility of charging businesses that want additional visits from inspectors to ensure their safety practices are good enough.

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I’ve got some personal concerns and I’m inviting comments via this blog: