Thanks to our close ties with the British government's Health and Safety Executive, we're able to influence the direction in which policy shifts. It's this understanding of the wider context in which health and safety legislation is formed, that gives British Safety Council members such an advantage.
We will continue to engage with government and the regulator, using our own and our members' knowledge to influence the direction of health and safety policy and law.
If you wish to provide us with your views on these proposals or any other official consultations, please email [email protected].
The British Safety Council has contributed to many consultations in the wake of recent reviews and regulatory reforms.
Previous consultations include on new Sentencing Guidelines, Fee for Intervention (FFI), exempting the self-employed and changes to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
Consultation on the revised Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice
Defra and the Welsh Government have published a consultation on the revised Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice.
It is a legal requirement for those dealing with certain kinds of waste to take all reasonable steps to keep it safe and is set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA), applicable to anyone who is a holder of household, industrial and commercial waste, known as controlled waste.
This proposed update will reflect a number of important legislative changes relating to the duty of care that have been introduced since its publication in 1996. The consultation seeks views and comments on whether the revised duty of care Code of Practice offers clear fit for purpose and practical guidance to holders of waste.
Full details on the proposed Code of Practice and the survey are available online. The consultation closed Monday 21 September 2015.
ORR's health and safety compliance and enforcement policy statement 2015
ORR, the health and safety enforcing authority and National Safety Agency for Britain's railways, has published their revised health and safety compliance and enforcement policy statement.
There are no changes to the principles of formal enforcement, but the statement now includes a new short section and some advice on how decisions around enforcement can be challenged. Full details are available online.
The consultation closed Friday 25 September 2015.
Consultation Response - Work, Health and Disability: Improving Working Lives Green paper 2017
Our response to the consultation can now be accessed here.
Sentencing Council consultation on health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety offences guidelines
The Sentencing Council undertook a public consultation between November 2014 – February 2015 concerning new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety offences committed in England and Wales.
We reported in Safety Management that this consultation was one of the most important concerning the regulation and enforcement of health and safety in recent years. When implemented the guidelines will likely result in higher fines where there has been a high degree of culpability with serious harm suffered.
The British Safety Council response to the consultative proposals was informed by a survey of our members carried out in January 2015. A summary of their views will be published in the March 2015 edition of Safety Management. Our response to the consultation can now be accessed here.
Consultation on The Income Tax (Recommended Medical Treatment) Regulations 2014
The UK government is due to launch the Health and Work Service in late 2014, which is intended to deliver both a supportive occupational health assessment and general health and work advice to employees, employers and general practitioners (GPs), to help individuals stay in or return to work. The government is also introducing a tax exemption for employers who fund medical treatment recommended by either the Health and Work Service or an employer-arranged occupational health service. This treatment must be intended to help an employee return to work after a period of absence due to illness or injury (eligible expenditure will be subject to an annual cap of £500 per employee).
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is now consulting on draft regulations they intend to implement at the end of the year, subject to input from this consultation.
More information on this can be found here.
Further information and future updates on the Health and Work Service can be found here.
If you would like to be involved or share your views, please email [email protected]
Consultation on proposals to exempt self-employed persons from section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
HSE consulted on exempting some self-employed people from duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc. 1974 and related regulations during July-August 2014. Under the proposals, self-employed people would be exempt from health and safety law and duties providing they do not carry out activities on a prescribed list. HSE consulted on the definitions in the draft regulations as well as the costs and benefits of the proposed changes, as set out in the Impact Assessment.
Planned changes to Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM)
HSE consulted on proposed changes to the CDM Regulations. An overview of our response can be read here. We will be making full submission available in due course.
Significant changes include:
- The proposed replacement of the CDM co-ordinator role with a new role ascribed to the 'principal designer' which will include the element of control and influence over design. The discharge of this function will sit within the project team rather than outsourced to an external contractor
- The proposed removal of explicit 'competence' requirement currently set out in regulation 4 of CDM. HSE argues that competence is most effectively promoted through culture change and leadership and that effective co-ordination of health and safety is carried out on all projects irrespective of size
- The removal of the current exemption for domestic clients. It is envisaged that this change will allow many of the duties assigned to the domestic client to be undertaken by the principal designer
- Replacement of the Approved Code of Practice supporting CDM with guidance.
Full details on the consultation can be accessed on the HSE website.
RIDDOR and H&S law concerning the self-employed
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published two separate consultative documents in August 2012 which contained proposals to further revise the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) and to amend health and safety law concerning the self-employed.
The RIDDOR consultation document suggests the following:
- To retain reporting requirements concerning deaths to both workers and people not at work, all major injuries, over seven-day injuries to people at work, dangerous occurrences within major hazard sectors and domestic gas events
- To remove cases of occupational disease, non-fatal accidents to people not at work, dangerous occurrences outside of high risk sectors or activities and the reporting by self-employed persons of injuries or illnesses to themselves
- For more information, please see CD243.
No date has yet been set for implemention of the RIDDOR proposals.
Summary of proposed changes to law concerning the self-employed
The consultative document on exempting some self-employed persons from health and safety law, CD242, sets out the background to the proposed reforms, including listing the regulations that apply to the self-employed and the findings of the Löfstedt review and the Davidson review which recommended that HSE should consider exempting the self-employed in low-risk sectors from health and safety legislation.
The consultative document makes clear that the exemption will not extend to those self-employed whose work activities pose a potential risk of harm to other or those who employ others. The HSE favours an option to introduce a prescribed list of high-risk sectors –including agriculture, construction, gas fitting, COMAH sites, nuclear and offshore installations. People working in these sectors will continue to be bound by health and safety law. Further options include leaving it to the self-employed to establish whether their work poses a risk to others and exempting people who undertake office-type activities.
No date has yet been set for implementation of the proposals on exempting the low risk self-employed.
For more information, please see CD242.
Proposals to review HSE's Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs)
The HSE conducted a three-month consultation on a significant number of its ACOPs between July and September 2012. It sought views on the revision, consolidation or withdrawal of 15 ACOPs, which are to be delivered by end-2013; and on proposals for minor revisions, or no changes, to a further 15 ACOPs which are to be delivered by 2014. This includes plans to abolish the ACOP on the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and replace it with guidance by the end of 2013; and merging two ACOPs on managing asbestos in buildings and working with asbestos. The proposals also included a plan to limit the length of all ACOPs to 32 pages.
The British Safety Council encouraged its member organisations to share their views on the proposals and submitted our official response to HSE. A summary of members' views was published in Safety Management - click here for details.
A summary of the 15 ACOPs up for revision, consolidation or withdrawal to be delivered by end-2013 can be found here.
A summary of the 15 ACOPs up for minor revision or no change to be delivered by end-2014 can be found here.
In Dec 2012/Jan 2013 HSE decided to recommend to the government that all the proposals should go ahead, except the withdrawal of ACOPs on children in agriculture and the design and installation of gas service pipes, for which a decision has yet to be made. In addition, HSE decided to recommend that the length of ACOPs should be considered on a case-by-case basis, rather than limited to 32 pages, as originally suggested.
Further information on the proposals can be found here.
Proposal to scrap 14 health and safety regulations
Proposal to abolish 14 legislative measures (one Act, 12 sets of regulations and one Order) which HSE says are either redundant, have been overtaken by more up-to-date regulations or do not deliver their expected benefits. These include the Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes Regulations 2010, the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 and the Docks Regulations 1988. The consultation on the proposals closed on 4 July 2012, and in August 2012, HSE said it would be recommending to ministers that 13 of the 14 sets of regulations be removed. However, in the case of the Docks Regulations, HSE's board has asked for further information on how safety standards in ports will be maintained if the regulations are scrapped, before reaching a decision on whether or not to recommend their abolition.
Read about which regulations are due to be abolished.
HSE board's discussion on the proposals can be found here.
Fee for Intervention (FFI)
Since October 2012, HSE recovers its inspection, investigation and enforcement costs from employers found in breach of health and safety law. FFI applies to ‘material’ breaches of health and safety law - namely when an HSE inspector judges there has been a contravention of health and safety law that requires them to notify the employer in writing, by notification of a contravention, an improvement or prohibition notice or a prosecution. The fee is based on the amount of time the inspector spends identifying the material breach, helping the business to put it right, and investigating and taking enforcement action. FFI is charged at £124 per hour but does not apply to health and safety enforcement by local authorities.
Click here for HSE's guidance on FFI.
The British Safety Council will be reporting on progress in coming months. Should you wish to share any views on FFI or your experience of the new enforcement regime, email us at [email protected]
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
Now closed consultative seeking views on simplifying the UK’s framework for complying with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). This requires certain UK businesses to ‘cap and trade’ their greenhouse gas emissions as part of global efforts to combat climate change. Under the proposals, 13 sets of UK regulations would be amalgamated; small emitters and hospitals would be able to opt out into a lighter touch alternative scheme from 2013; and civil, rather than criminal, sanctions would be introduced for those who breach their duties.
Read more about the proposed changes (consultation closed on 31 July 2012).
Focus on Enforcement
The government is inviting businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to suggest ways in which enforcement by regulators such as HSE and local authorities can be improved and reformed. The best suggestions will be used to guide proposed improvements.
Red Tape Challenge
Government review inviting the public, business and the voluntary and community sector to give their views on what regulations affecting business and the voluntary sector should be retained, improved or abolished.
Although the ‘spotlight’ period for commenting on health, safety and environmental legislation under the Red Tape Challenge has now closed, new comments are still considered by HSE as part of the government’s long-term commitment to regulatory reform.