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Regulatory reform: could do better
Date of Issue: Friday, 15 May, 2015
The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released a publication in March 2015, entitled A final progress report on implementation of health and safety reforms. If it was a school report we’d probably conclude that the government could have done better.Yes, of course it focuses on the reforms and the regulatory changes, but what about the impact on real businesses and people? On this, regrettably it is silent.
In 2010/11 the HSE’s baseline was for 33,000 visits in the UK. By refocusing on higher risk sectors it now works to an annual target of just 22,000 proactive visits. In 2013/14 half of these were construction based and 37 per cent in manufacturing.
Looking beyond this pre-election report, the HSE is billing about £650,000 a month under the Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme. Fees hit the high-risk industries hardest with 27 per cent coming from construction and 40 per cent from manufacturing. According to HSE figures, two thirds of FFI income comes from just 15 per cent of UK businesses.
Regulations are still planned to de-regulate many of the self-employed, and as we’ve said before this is not a change we welcome. If a new political party forms the next UK government there is a chance we could lobby for these regulations not to be made.
But actually we face the very real challenge of tackling the overwhelming ill-health causation of work. This major challenge is not for the faint hearted and the HSE has undoubtedly raised its game and profile on this massively important area for improvement. But the DWP report fails to address this.
So we will continue to focus our attention on ill-health prevention to save lives, livelihoods and money and hope that the next government, whoever it may be, sees things the same way.
First published in IIRSM’s insight, issue 05/2015
Director of Membership and Business Development
Deputy Chief Executive