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CWU Wants Changes To H&S Enforcement As New HSE CEO Announced

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Safety regulator for England, Scotland and Wales has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer‎ – Sarah Albon.

Sarah Albon is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Insolvency Service and will join the HSE organisation on 1st September.

She has absolutely no background in Health & Safety and her appointment signals even more commercialisation of the HSE.

CWU’s National Health, Safety and Environment Officer, Dave Joyce responded to this appointment in a letter to all CWU Branches:

“The position of the CWU is clear and has been set out in Conference Policy decisions.

The CWU wants to see a positive change in direction from the HSE with increased inspector resources, a greater emphasis on inspections, investigations and prosecutions against those employers who fail to comply and meet basic health and safety standards, putting workers in danger of injury, ill-health or death.”

On the announcement of her position with the HSE, Sarah Albon issued a statement:

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the executive of this important and hugely respected regulator. Working together with my new colleagues across HSE, I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the vital mission we deliver on behalf of Great Britain’s workplaces.

My focus will be on continuing to deliver improvements in health and safety performance as our workplaces move into a future with new challenges, new technologies and new opportunities.”

The North West BT H&S Co-ord’s Chairperson, Derek Mayor expressed the concern of Union Safety Reps for the way the HSE is now operating.

Writing in his website message for July he said:

“We have concern that part of Sarah’s opening gambit was mentioning “new opportunities” – this could be taken as further commercialism of the HSE which we have seen expanding over the last few years, the majority of email contact from the HSE is now selling training or something similar.”

Sarah Albon joined The Insolvency Service in February 2015, and was tasked with implementing its strategy to improve service to its customers, lower its costs, and strengthen the UK’s insolvency regime.

She replaces Richard Judge who resigned on 17 August 2018 after 4 years in charge. Judge himself was a former CEO at the Insolvency Service before moving to the HSE.

An interesting connection here is the fact that the HSE has to waive or abandon intervention fees charged to around a thousand insolvent companies each year costing the HSE around £1.5 Million.

During Judge’s period of tenure and that of his predecessor Geoffrey Podger the HSE’s funding allocation from central Government has shrunk year on year for the last decade‎ under anti-health and safety Governments. Unsurprisingly HSE proactive inspections of workplaces declined as did prosecutions and convictions.

‎Prior to her role at the insolvency service Sarah Albon had previous roles in Government including director of strategy and change at Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, director of civil family and legal aid policy at the Ministry of Justice, deputy director of criminal legal aid strategy, Ministry of Justice and has also served as principal private secretary to two Lord Chancellors.

Source: CWU / unionsafety



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