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March 21, 2012

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HSE seeks panel members for ‘myths’ challenge panel

The entry process for applicants to sit on a new independent panel that aims to challenge incorrect or disproportionate advice and decisions made by non-regulators closes tomorrow.

The Executive hopes this panel, which could be up and running by the middle of April, will help promote the message that health and safety is about managing real risks properly, and discourage excessive risk aversion, which not only stops people getting on with their lives but creates a perception of poor regulation.

Examples the regulator cites of decisions where health and safety is often used as a convenient excuse to prevent what are essentially sensible activities from taking place include stopping dodgem cars bumping into each other, or banning street parties.

The panel will consider cases where advice given to members of the public by non-regulators quotes health and safety as a justification for their decision, and is considered to be incorrect, or disproportionate. It will also make recommendations to the originator of the complaint and endeavour to identify the real issue behind any risk-averse advice. Final decisions are likely to be publicised on the HSE website.

The panel will be chaired by HSE chair Judith Hackitt, with Robin Dahlberg, HSE board member, acting as deputy chair. To support them, the HSE is now seeking to appoint a pool of panel members, who will be involved, depending on their relevant experience, on a case-by-case basis. The Executive wants panel members from a wide cross-section of representative groups, who can look at cases and quickly assess if a sensible and proportionate decision has been made.

In particular, it seeks representatives from:

  • the small-business community;
  • the insurance sector;
  • trades unions;
  • cross-sector industry bodies; and
  • those who can provide a public safety and consumer perspective.

Key criteria include: the ability to demonstrate a commitment to sensible and proportionate health and safety; experience of looking at issues from a wider, more strategic perspective; and the ability to exercise sound judgement and decision-making skills.

Please note: The entry period has now closed and the HSE is not accepting any more applications.

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12 years ago

Another pointless waste of time and money.
You don’t think the press or the public is going to pay any attention to what these people say ?

12 years ago

I have ten years experience working in the training Industry and teach health and saftey to a large percentage on the construction side of this, ie plant, construction and highways.
It always surprises me how little the candidates know of the subject and the danger they put themselves in. I always think the proactive approach is the best policy and try to project this accros to my learners and hope that they take the information on board.I always find thier views and experiences valuable too.

12 years ago

As a COMAH site I only deal with the creme de la creme of HSE inspectors and specilaist advisers. Despite that, none of my managerial colleagues have a good word to say after their interactions with the HSE on site. Given that thse colleagues have a similar education and industrial background as the chair of the HSE, I wonder what her views would be if she could see her troops in action.

12 years ago

I have been out with HSE inspectors looking at production facilities and have thought that some of thier descisions have been OTT. This new advisory body may in fact be supportive of consultancies and agree that for the most part they are correct and proportionate.