The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has launched its latest business plan which sets out what it intends to deliver in 2017 and 2018. Key focus areas include embracing technology, delivering post-Brexit and building on the recent success of the “Helping Great Britain Work Well” strategy.
The HSE believes there are substantial benefits for continual improvement: for workers a healthier and safer workplace; for business, productivity and innovation; and for the wider economy reducing the £14 billion impact of work-related injuries and ill health, together with enabling the growth opportunities that come with creating a more attractive place to do business.
The HSE’s business plan highlights four key priorities within its overall framework:
- Lead and engage with others to improve workplace health and safety by capitalising on the enthusiasm and collaboration seen since launching Helping Great Britain work well. This involves using modern communication and technology to change behaviours, and continuing to support activities through robust science and evidence
- Provide an effective regulatory framework - ensuring delivery of the government’s regulatory agenda and supporting the UK’s exit from the European Union
- Secure effective management and control of risk through a variety of regulatory tools that involve direct interactions with dutyholders. This includes licensing activities, sustaining existing levels of intelligence-led inspections and investigating incidents, with people being held to account for their failures through firm, but fair, enforcement of the law
- Reduce the likelihood of low-frequency, high-impact catastrophic incidents and the potential for extensive harm to workers and the public. Major hazard dutyholders are subject to a level of regulatory scrutiny proportionate to their risks and performance. This includes considering leadership, workforce competence and engagement, and maintenance of asset integrity
Of interest to many of us is how the UK’s regulatory framework will change post-Brexit. The HSE states it will contribute to the government work on the UK’s exit from the EU and on the sectoral cross-cutting Red tape Reviews and Regulatory Futures Review as appropriate. In particular it is preparing for any necessary changes to the chemicals regime.
Helping Great Britain Work Well
In 2016 the HSE launched its new health & safety engagement campaign “Help Great Britain Work Well” which sets out the priorities the HSE plans to focus on over the next five years. The 2017/18 business plan takes forward key elements of this strategy, in particular:
- emphasising ill health as it builds on the recent launch of the Health and Work programme, with its focus on respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and occupational stress and related mental health issues
- reinforcing proportionate approaches by setting expected standards, targeting intelligence led interventions, and ensuring any enforcement action takes into account the seriousness of risks. For businesses, and in particular for SMEs, this is seen in the beginning of the HSE’s work on ‘blue tape’ (where businesses place excessive burdens on each other)
- ensuring value for money for the taxpayer by reducing reliance on government funding while continuing to improve efficiency and effectiveness
- bringing together the breadth of capability and expertise across HSE, and benefiting from effective collaboration with the many other people and organisations that have a stake in improving health and safety in the workplace
Contact us to find out more about prioritising YOUR Health & Safety needs or take a look at the HSE’s business plan here.
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