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MPs Raise Concern About Health and Safety Enforcement

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health has found that the number of health and safety inspectors employed by local authorities has almost halved since 2010, and inspections are down as a result.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing health and safety laws so that employers operating safe working environments, and facilities remain safe for use by members of the public.

The parliamentarians are calling for changes in the way that local authorities enforce the law, as they are concerned that employers who risk the health and safety of their workforce, or of the public, are not being brought to task.

In publishing the report, the Chair of the all-party group, Jo Stevens MP, said:

“We recognise the financial restraints that many local councils are working under and the many competing demands on their services, but we cannot allow the role of local authorities in important areas such as health and safety to continue to decline. Too many people are injured or made ill at work and, with a strong inspection regime, many of these cases can be prevented. I hope the Government and the HSE will consider and implement the recommendations of this report.”

The cross party group feels that there is still a role for local authorities, working in partnership with national enforcement body the Health and Safety Executive. The report makes a number of clear recommendations aimed at improving the way the inspection regime works, which include proposals that the Government should do more to ensure that there is no duplication between the work of the HSE and local councils and also that all new enterprises should be visited at the earliest opportunity to provide them with guidance on how to operate safely and legally.

Pic: Click the pic to downloadThe All-Party Group recognises the financial restraints that many local councils are working under and the many competing demands on their services. We believe that local authorities, in general, provide a very useful service and that the current dual inspection role between the HSE and local authorities is a pragmatic approach to inspection and enforcement.

  • The HSE ensure that local government priorities on inspection reflect the current HSE strategy with greater emphasis on health, rather than just safety.
  • Consideration should be given to ensuring that all new premises or enterprises covered by local authority enforcement activities should receive a proactive visit at the earliest opportunity. Local authorities and health and safety.
  • The HSE should provide some framework for consistency of approach in good primary authorities working and ensure greater scrutiny of the scheme.
  • That “fee for intervention” should be extended to local authorities.
  • Information on the health and safety inspection and enforcement performance of individual authorities should be more easily available, including historical comparisons.
  • The HSE Local Authority Unit should consider whether they can improve intelligence on effective local authority enforcement activity and do more to share examples of good practice amongst local councils and publicise the work they do.
  • The HSE should look at ensuring that workplaces do not have duplicate LA and HSE health and safety enforcement in different parts of their operation by either amending the enforcement regulations or making greater use of flexible warranting.

You can download the report in full by clicking the pic above. It is also available to download via the Unionsafety E-Library Database

Source: Jo Stevens Press Release

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