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Triennial Review Report: Health & Safety Executive

The Department of Work & Pensions has published the first triennial review of HSE, led by Martin Temple. The review was formed of two Stages, the first of which looked at the continued need for an arm’s length body to oversee health & safety and whether the current format is the most efficient. IIRSM is pleased to note that the conclusion of the review is that there continues to be a need for the functions which HSE carried out and that they are most appropriately carried out by an arm’s length body.

The second part of the review looks at the way in which HSE is controlled & governed. The conclusion was that in most respects, procedures which are in place are in line with the principles of good governance which would be expected of an organisation of its size.

However, there are a number of issues which were raised including the question of resourcing. The review acknowledges that in the present economic climate, the budget cuts which have applied to HSE in recent years are unlikely to be reversed and that innovative approaches will be necessary to ensure that its functions continue to be carried out efficiently. In fact IIRSM is concerned to see that is accepted without question that the budget will continue to be reduced.

The report has identified the introduction of Fee for Invention as having a negative impact on the way HSE is perceived by business who viewed it as a ‘fine’. IIRSM is encouraged to see that this has been described in the review as “a dangerous” model as it will affect the way the advisory role of HSE is seen. Specific recommendations have been made for the review of FFI which is scheduled for the end of its first year. These include:

  • stakeholder representation in the review team to provide assurance of the impartiality of the findings
  • the views of stakeholders on how FFI is working
  • if FFI is to be retained, whether the threshold for FFI has been set at the right level
  • whether there is evidence that the anticipated incentives to comply have made a difference and improved health and safety performance
  • whether there have been any detrimental impacts on the behaviour of HSE Inspectors and/or those inspected and/or on health and safety performance
  • consideration of alternative sources of income, which should be tested against the same criteria.

The review has also suggested revised performance measures for HSE’s enforcement activities which should include an element of customer perception.

Other recommendations which IIRSM would support include:

  • the Health & Safety Laboratory should not be privatised
  • HSE should play a more active role in the EU as encouraged by the Löfstedt Report
  • increased emphasis should be placed on occupational health issues which account for the greater proportion of cases of long-term workplace absence
  • HSE should continue to try to reach out to SMEs by developing the use of new media



The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) is a professional body for health and safety practitioners and specialists in related fields who have a health and safety remit.  It was set up to advance standards in accident prevention and occupational health throughout the world. 

Established in 1975 this not-for-profit organisation offers membership to practitioners in over 70 countries. IIRSM welcomes third sector engagement at every level and actively seeks partnerships with equivalent bodies throughout the world.  It has strong links with leading universities and international bodies and works to establish and promote standards of professional competence.

In support of its mission statement:  “to provide recognition, information, support and enhancement to our growing membership” IIRSM places the interests of its membership at the centre of everything it does.

Additional Information contact
Perminder Dhillon
Tel: 0208 600 2378

Press Release Reference No: 002-14

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