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Positions and key issues

The British Safety Council is a campaigning organisation, with a clear focus on influencing the future direction of health and safety policy and law.

Our policy positions set out what we believe and capture the organisation’s view on key topical issues. These positions are developed in collaboration with members and others to ensure that they remain current, evidence-based and evolve as each issue moves forward and develops.

Some of our key positions are on the importance of managing health risks, including mental health; asking for greater clarity on the consequences of exiting the European Union and the important role of leadership, worker involvement and competence for good health and safety.  

Active issues

Issues on which we are currently actively engaged.

Young workers

British Safety Council has a long standing strategic objective to promote and protect the health and safety of young workers. Our campaign, Speak Up, Stay Safe, is one of the key measures we have put in place to help develop a greater awareness among young people of the risks that they face at work and their role in helping identify and manage those risks.

For more information, please contact matthew.holder@britsafe.org

Competence

Research has shown that competence is comprised of both knowledge, acquired through training, and skills, developed through experience and practice. British Safety Council believes that it is important that everyone in the workplace has the opportunity to develop competence in health and safety that is relevant and proportionate to their role. Everyone has a different learning style, so there is a place for both formal structured learning and for skills based learning. The key is to ensure that the required level of competence is determined for each role and that each person has a personal development plan which sets out the most suitable route to competence for them.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Occupational road risk

Research shows that an increasing number of people now drive in connection with work. Road use is growing in the UK and the number of road accidents is also increasing. Many employers now rate driving as one of the most significant risks to their workforce, but it’s a complicated one to control as so many factors are outside their influence. Grey fleet (employees using their own cars for work driving) is a particular concern. British Safety Council recognises that management of occupational road risk is a significant issue and is committed to supporting members and clients in developing effective and proportionate risk control strategies.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

What is safety?

British Safety Council believes that no-one should be injured or made ill at work and that good health and safety management supports efficient business operation. Effective management of health and safety isn’t about stopping work or getting in the way of business objectives. It’s about conducting necessary work activities as safely and efficiently as possible.

It’s not possible to be 100% safe all the time. Getting health and safety right is about finding a balance between necessary and desirable activities and the risk of incident or injury, a point that facilitates and supports business whilst still sending everyone home safe and well.

Safety is not the number one priority in businesses. If they did health and safety and nothing else, then the business would fail. Health and safety should however be embedded in everything to support and enable business objectives. It’s not the ‘what’ but it is the ‘how’

British Safety Council is committed to supporting our members and clients as they work to embed this principle in the culture of their organisations.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Leadership for safety

British Safety Council believes that good health and safety management supports efficient business operation and leaders and managers have a key role to play in this.

Traditionally Health and Safety management has been structured by legislation. Although this has driven significant improvement, this has plateaued in recent years. We believe that this is because the model is flawed! Rules and legislation will only ever drive compliance. To go beyond compliance, and towards the vision that no-one is injured or made ill at work, a different approach is required. 

Legislation will drive compliance, but you have to inspire people to deliver continuous improvement and drive towards excellence. 

Good leaders inspire people. Their passion and dedication drives people to follow them and to adopt similar beliefs and ideas, but they are inspiration not just because of what they say but because of the way that they model their values, beliefs and objectives in the way that they do their jobs, and conduct their lives.

We believe that effective health and safety leadership isn’t about what you say, it’s about what you do – how you demonstrate your commitment to looking after the people that you work with, and we are committed to working with our members and clients to embed effective leadership for health and safety within their organisations.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Health and wellbeing

UK health and safety performance is respected internationally, but there is still plenty of room to improve.  As the number of significant accidents has reduced we have become increasingly aware of the significance of health issues. These follow a different pattern, developing slowly over a number of years, and are often multifaceted – not necessarily solely attributable to work, but they still require the same robust approach to hazard identification, risk assessment and proportionate management. 

British Safety Council is committed to supporting the development of a positive health and wellbeing culture in businesses.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Presenteeism

British Safety Council recognises that presenteeism (the act of attending work whilst unwell) is an increasing concern to UK businesses. We believe that establishing a positive health and wellbeing culture can significantly improve morale and productivity and we are committed to developing advice, tools and services to support our members and clients in this area.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Ageing workforce

Research shows that the UK population is ageing, and that pensions are now insufficient to support many people from traditional retirement age to the end of their lives. Consequently, people are working beyond traditional retirement age and this poses some challenges for employers in terms of manging risk associated with reduced physical capacity and age related health conditions. There are opportunities too though in the shape of skills transfer and development of young people.

This is a complex and evolving issue, and British Safety Council is committed to supporting research and learning in order to assist members and clients in establishing effective risk management regimes.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Mental health

There is a growing realisation that mental health is a significant issue in UK society. It is a complex matter with much research ongoing, but what is clear is that the workplace has a key role to play, not just as part of the problem, but also as a source of solutions and support.

We are committed to supporting the development of learning, information, tools and processes which will assist employers in engaging with this important issue.

British Safety Council is actively involved in setting the agenda on this issue though our Mates in Mind initiative. The initial focus is on the construction sector, but there is also an aspiration for knowledge transfer to other sectors as well.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSE enforcement

Overwhelming support for HSE – seen as an effective regulator and successful in carrying out its statutory duties.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSE cost recovery – Fee for Intervention (FFI)

Support the principle of those organisations in breach of the law should bear the cost of enforcement. However, we have concerns about the impact of FFI on the duty holder/regulator relationship.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSE resources

Position is one of concern about the impact of continuing public expenditure cuts on HSE’s ability to carry out the full range of its statutory duties.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Local authority enforcement

Position is one of concern about the dwindling resources Local Authorities are allocating to health and safety enforcement.

Local Authority enforcement should be brought wholly within HSE’s control and oversight.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSE strategy – Helping Great Britain work well

British Safety Council is strongly supportive of HSE’s new strategy and of its 6 key themes:

  • Acting together
  • Tackling ill health
  • Managing risk well
  • Supporting small businesses
  • Keeping pace with change
  • Sharing success.

We believe that the strategy sets some clear objectives and we are keen to work with HSE to support development and delivery of initiatives to achieve these outcomes.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

UK withdrawal from the EU

The UK leads the world on health and safety performance. This is supported by a robust, proportionate and effective framework of legislation and risk control, some of which has its origins in EU Directives.

Following the Brexit vote this framework may come under review. Caution will be required to continue to maintain current standards and protect the health and safety of workers in the UK. The objective must be to judge each element of the legislative framework on its own merits and effectiveness not just on its origin. These important decisions must be properly evidence-based and ensure continuity of proportionate and effective protection for workers in the UK.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Brexit unintended consequences

Whilst commencement of formal EU Exit negotiations is still some way off, British Safety Council are concerned that the level of uncertainty related to political restructuring and the lack of any firm structure or schedule for withdrawal, is already resulting in unintended consequences which will adversely affect the safety, health and wellbeing of workers in the UK.

We call on Government to take urgent action to address this uncertainty so that employers can develop plans which will assure safety, health and wellbeing for their workers in the short term and the medium term whilst the formal negotiations take place.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Improving health and safety in rapidly developing economies

Public position is one of serious concern about ineffectual regulation and enforcement particularly in rapidly developing economies such as PR of China, India and Brazil.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Sensible health and safety; business case for good health and safety

Support sensible, proportionate and targeted health and safety management. Strong support for the need for stakeholders to actively make the case for the economic and social benefits of proportionate and effective health and safety management.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Worker involvement

We support active involvement of the workforce which we consider essential to effective health and safety management. We do not support the need for a strengthening of current law and believe that there is a place for both the traditional trade union and the newer employee consultation approaches to cater for variation in organisational structure.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Safety differently, aka, good to excellent

Health and safety has come a very long way since the introduction of the Health and safety at Work Act in 1974. However, in recent times the improvement, which was steep and obvious at first seems to have plateaus.

British Safety Council agree that there is a need to adopt a new and different ‘people focused’ approach if high performing business are to continue to improve health and safety. However, we need to ensure that the concept does not become over complicated and commercialised. The most effective solutions are those that are developed and owned within the organisation.

British Safety Council is committed to promoting this message and to supporting our members and clients as they develop relevant and proportionate plans to optimise health and safety in their businesses.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Open Issues

Issues which are ongoing but on which we are not currently active.

Vulnerable workers

Support the continuing need for targeted advice and guidance to help keep vulnerable workers healthy and safe. 

Support the work of HSE to protect vulnerable workers.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Work-related disease including asbestos

Support the prioritisation of asbestos regulation and enforcement by HSE. Actively support HSE and industry preventative campaigns. Active in disseminating the expert evidence concerning the cause and effect of work-related disease.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSE commercialisation

Position still to be determined. For the moment, we have adopted a neutral stance pending more detailed consideration.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Corporate manslaughter legislation

Support the principle underlying the legislation but concerned that the policy intention has not been met.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Working Time Directive and free movement of people

Position to be developed as Brexit negotiations evolve.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Accreditation of health and safety consultants – Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR)

Support the voluntary approach to the regulation of health and safety consultants. We have been actively involved in the oversight of the operation of OSHCR through our membership of the OSHCR Board.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSE 2013/14 statistics (GB) including performance trends concerning injury and ill health

We have noted the significant improvements that have been made in reducing the number and incidence of fatal and major injuries particularly over the last ten years. Concerned however these improvements have not been mirrored for ill health occurrences and about the burden of days lost through work-related ill health.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Civil liability (compensation)

Support principle that those who have suffered loss as a result of injury or ill health occurrence at work should be properly compensated. Do not support contention that there is, in UK, a compensation culture in relation to health and safety.

Archived

Historical issues which are not current and on which we are no longer active.

Construction including CDM Regulations 2015

Support for the policy objectives underlying the introduction of the CDM Regulations 2015. 

Our evidence submitted to the HSE consultative exercise highlighted the diverse range of views of our members on the key changes, for example, the revocation of the CDM ACOP.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Temple review of role and operation of HSE

Supported main findings of Temple review including those concerning the effectiveness of our regulatory regime and the role played by HSE.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Scotland: Devolution issues

  • Oppose the devolution of health and safety powers to the Scottish Parliament
  • Oppose the creation of a separate HSE for Scotland.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Lord Young’s review, common sense, common safety

Supported the main thrust of the report recommendations including a review of GB’s health and safety framework.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Professor Löfstedt’s review, reclaiming health and safety for all

Supported the major recommendations including: review of ACOPs; review of key Regulations including RIDDOR; exploration of scope for regulatory simplification; giving HSE power to direct Local Authority enforcement.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Review and repeal of Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs)

Supported principle of reviewing and repealing particular ACOPs.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Regulatory simplification – Matthew's review

Supported goal of simplification. The Matthew's review conclusion – against simplification – was a missed opportunity.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Dis-application of health and safety law to some categories of self-employed

Supported dis-application of law to self-employed whose work posed no risk of harm to others. Oppose transposition of this policy into law which goes beyond Löfstedt recommendation.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill (SARAH)

Initially supported Government policy objective of protecting ‘good samaritans’ from civil litigation.

Changed position to ‘agnostic’ in light of lack of evidence to justify the reform.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008

Support for the increased tariffs for fines contained in the 2008 Act and note that in the intervening years the number of significant fines for the most serious offences has increased significantly.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Sentencing Council proposals concerning new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences

Support for the proposed new sentencing guidelines and the principal that the level of penalty should be commensurate with the details of the offence in line with established criteria.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

EU strategy and priorities

Support principle of need for a review of EU strategy for health and safety.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

Review of EU (health and safety) Directives

Support principle of review of all EU Directives concerning health and safety.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

EU referendum

British Safety Council is neutral on this matter – supporting neither ‘in’ or ‘out’.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org

HSG 65 – HSE guidance on management of health and safety – Managing for health and safety

We actively contributed to and supported the work to review and revise HSG65 which we consider to be key guidance in helping a range of stakeholders ensure that proper and effective health and safety management arrangements are in place.

For more information, please contact louise.ward@britsafe.org