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HEALTH & SAFETY PRACTITIONERS RESPOND TO GOVT REVIEW

IOSH members declare CDM 2007 a success but simplification required

The professional body for health and safety practioners has published a Report presenting the results of a survey of IOSH members in the UK providing member views and evidence to support the IOSH response to the Löfstedt Review.

The review chaired by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt called for evidence which closed on 29 July 2011. The review is due to make recommendations to Ministers by the end of October 2011 with the aim of “reducing the burden” of health and safety legislation.

Associated Approved Codes of Practice (ACoPs) which provide advice, with special legal status, on compliance with health and safety law are also under scrutiny.

Summary of IOSH member survey results

In answer to the review questions, members cited 40 regulations and ACoPs they felt had significantly improved health and safety and should not be changed. The top four were:

The top four cited as the best candidates for simplification were:

  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (as amended)
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007
  • Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The regulations suggested for mergers included:

  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 with the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 with either the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 or the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

Twenty-one different regulations and ACoPs were suggested for abolition, most by single respondents, with only the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 proposed by more than 10 people.

Reasonably practicable concept is ‘essential’

Most respondents did not believe there were regulations that had added a significant burden on business while having a limited impact on health and safety. The majority of respondents supported the concept of ‘reasonably practicable’, calling it ‘vital’ or ‘essential’, though a minority thought it caused uncertainty.

Over 13 per cent thought compensation was driving inappropriate legislation, not the regulation or ACoPs themselves.

The majority felt there was no evidence of ‘gold plating’ of transposed law, with small numbers thinking there had been instances of under-transposition. Some felt that insurers could lead organisations to apply ‘gold plating’ to legislative requirements.

Approximately 40 per cent felt that the way health and safety law places responsibility on risk creators was currently appropriate, but there were suggested changes, including:

  • directors to have legally explicit duties
  • employees’ duties to be strengthened
  • stronger enforcement.

General suggestions included:

  • tackling the so-called ‘compensation culture’
  • a broad set of regulations with sector-specific ACoPs
  • improved risk education by incorporating health and safety into the curriculum.

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