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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Health and safety body welcomes Government's 'new start'

22 March, 2011
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) welcomed these Government plans, announced by Minister of Employment Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP yesterday (21 March), as marking "a new start for health and safety regulation for Britain’s businesses’.
However, after attending a meeting with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), IOSH said it believed there was still much work to be done in improving understanding and restoring the good name of health and safety in Britain. It also raised concerns about inspection cuts and the harmful effect of these in the more hazardous industries, including many in the materials processing sector.

Following on from ′Common Sense, Common Safety’, Mr Grayling MP is now steering the next steps in Government health and safety reform, detailed in the DWP paper, ′Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone’.

Speaking on the latest proposals, IOSH Policy and Technical Director Richard Jones, said: "We welcome the positives in the Government announcement, as well as the opportunity to continue to be part of the solution. It’s great that the Government recognises the value of good health and safety advice for productive workforces and economic prosperity.’

Jones also commented on the suggestion that businesses in serious breach of health and safety law should bear the financial brunt – rather than the taxpayer.
He said: "We’re pleased to see new guidance for ′lower risk’ employers and moves to recoup investigation and enforcement costs from serious non-compliers. We believe this will help level the playing field between the good guys and the bad, and also help preserve valuable Health and Safety Executive (HSE) resources. We’ve been calling for Government support to drive out any rogues from health and safety consultancy for some years, and have been pleased to be involved in the development of the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants’ Register (OSHCR), which went live yesterday.’

Assessing the impact of inspection cuts, he concluded: "We’re concerned that inspections are to be cut, because enforcement is an important motivator for companies to provide essential worker and public protection. We’d like reassurance that the more hazardous industries like construction, agriculture and manufacturing, will receive advice and enforcement levels proportionate to the risk and work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses that they suffer.’
During the DWP meeting yesterday, Mr Grayling MP announced ′Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone’, and said: "Sensible health and safety at work helps to maintain a healthy and productive workforce and contributes to economic prosperity.

"The burden of health and safety red tape has, however, become too great, with too many inspections of relatively low risk and well-performing workplaces, frequent, poor health and safety advice to businesses from badly qualified consultants, and a complex structure for regulation.To address these issues, the Government is today (21 March) publishing its plans for the reform of the health and safety system,’ he added.

* IOSH is the Chartered body for health and safety professionals. With more than 38,000 members in 85 countries. IOSH was founded in 1945 and is a registered charity with international NGO status.
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