Work and Pensions Select Committee Report

Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA) on 2008-05-09 11:55:46

Dear Colleague The third Report of Session 2007-08 from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, entitled "The role of the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive in regulating workplace health and safety" will be published today at midday (21 April 08). The report includes a broad range of recommendations, including inter alia: introduction of a system of accreditation for health and safety consultants to counter some of the problems caused by over-zealous consultants who encourage employers to be over-cautious in their interpretation of their health and safety duties, needlessly adding to the burden of compliance; an increase by HSE in its deployment of resources to front-line inspection. (Evidence to the Committee convinced it that increasing the number of inspections carried out by HSE is the best means of improving workplace health and safety standards and preventing workplace accidents.); an increase in current penalties for heath and safety offences; renewed effort to cut the number of fatalities in the construction industry, the offshore industry and to protect migrant workers; duties on board level directors if HSE/IoD guidance proves ineffective; revision of RIDDOR; stronger workforce involvement; a re-examination of 'reasonably practicable'; coverage of H&S in MBAs; and new H&S awards schemes and an H&S element in IIP. The Committee supports Dame Carol Black's call for a fully developed occupational health service, but it does not believe that this service should be delivered by HSE. The Chairman of the Committee, Terry Rooney MP, says "HSE needs an effective enforcement strategy to ensure that employers comply with their health and safety obligations. Where duties are not met, penalties must reflect the seriousness of the threat to workers' safety." He adds "At present businesses can expect an HSE inspection just once every 14.5 years; this is not enough to act as a deterrent to those employers tempted to cut corners on health and safety. HSE must increase its levels of inspection to improve protection for workers, particularly in the construction and offshore industries. Increasing inspection rates should be HSE' s primary focus." Roger Bibbings Secretary, Safety Groups UK

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