RoSPA submits evidence to review of Health and Safety.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has urged the Löfstedt Review team to take a broad and evidence-based approach to its task and look for practical solutions which could help all businesses, including small firms, to meet their health and safety duties.

RoSPA has submitted evidence to the team cautioning against reducing the number of regulations by merger purely for cosmetic reasons, and has made a number of proposals for practical measures that could be taken, including:

  • Giving lower-risk small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the option of producing simple health and safety action plans based on the combined safety policy and risk assessment template already offered by the HSE
  • Encouraging third party “semi-regulators” (such as clients, insurers, investors, and training funders) to implement mediation procedures enabling firms to appeal against what they see as over-the-top requirements
  •  Looking at lessons that can be learned from what has worked well in other industrialised countries and link this to wider efforts to promote effective health and safety regulation worldwide.

While accepting that there may be a case for removing repetitious duties in certain regulations (such as on risk assessment, information and training), RoSPA has urged the team to also look at where there may still be significant gaps in health and safety law (e.g. accident investigation and work-related road risk).

Roger Bibbings, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser, said: “There may be a case for better regulatory housekeeping, but owners and managers in small firms do not read raw, undigested health and safety law. What they need is good guidance and above all competent advisers to point them in the right direction. The Löfstedt team needs to take a wider view of current challenges in health and safety and suggest imaginative solutions.

“Health and safety law and standards are important and are essential to safeguard people’s lives and health. The existing legal structure and the underpinning guidance has been based on literally hundreds of thousands of hours of detailed research, development and consultation.”

It is hoped that, as with previous reviews of regulation, the Löfstedt Review team will confirm that health and safety law is balanced, well-structured and helps not only to save lives and safeguard health but also to boost UK competitiveness.

RoSPA has also urged that the review should encompass analysis of the health and safety aspect of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge and the HSE’s major programme for revising its inventory of more than 1,300 pieces of key guidance.

Information about the review is available at www.dwp.gov.uk and RoSPA’s full submission will be uploaded to the RoSPA website in due course. Since 2007, RoSPA’s National Occupational Safety and Health Committee has been conducting an inquiry into health and safety help available to small firms. Full details are at www.rospa.com/occupationalsafety/adviceandinformation/smallfirmshealthandsafety/inquiry/.

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About dbda
dbda is a corporate social responsibility consultancy embracing education and safety in the community. We are privileged to work with a large number of blue chip corporate clients, Government organisations, charitable bodies, Institutes and local authorities. We also have a network of schools, professional bodies, associations, universities and partners, with whom we regularly work in collaboration.

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