Safety charity RoSPA's response to report of the Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive

RoSPA has welcomed the findings of a government review which has confirmed the case for preserving the role of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in preventing work-related death, injury and ill health.

Having submitted evidence to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive, led by Martin Temple, chair of the EEF, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is pleased that its conclusions and recommendations mirror many of the key points which the charity included in its own evidence.

RoSPA is particularly in favour of maintaining the HSE, not only as a national enforcement agency, but as the lead body for promoting health safety research, developing standards and guidance, and working with other partners to raise awareness and develop the skills and competences needed to prevent accidents and to safeguard health.

Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser, said: “We are very pleased that the review has come down unequivocally in favour of maintaining the HSE as a non-departmental public body, working at arm’s length from ministers, to regulate work-related health and safety risks to workers and the wider community.

“Our impression is that by listening carefully to representatives of industry and other stakeholders, Temple and his team have not only confirmed the case for preserving the role of the HSE as the lead regulator in the health and safety field, but have also made a number of important recommendations for improving its efficiency  and effectiveness.”

The most notable conclusions include:

• An end to the “Fee for Intervention” (FFI) cost recovery scheme which has damaged perceptions of, and relationships with, inspectors
• The development of closer links between the HSE and other government departments and with local authorities
• The need for a new approach to measuring the HSE’s performance and impact
• Recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the HSE’s board
• Opposition to privatisation of the Health and Safety Laboratory
• Smarter use of new media to reach small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
• Speeding up the enforcement process
• Sharper focus on work-related health damage
• A more active role in the EU.

RoSPA will continue to play its part in helping to take the discussion forward via its National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC), focusing on what needs to be done to implement the review’s recommendations. In particular, RoSPA is keen to discuss options for alternative funding streams to support the HSE’s work, and Temple’s proposals for developing the HSE’s commercial activities in land-use planning and in delivering audits for large organisations. Consideration will also be given towards ensuring such activities do not conflict with the HSE’s regulatory independence or compete with similar services currently offered by other providers.

The review can be accessed at www.gov.uk/government/publications/triennial-review-report-health-and-safety-executive-2014.



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