January 2014 marked the triennial review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a body responsible for regulating the health and safe assessments in place in the workplace, as well as investigating accidents and injuries in the workplace. This review was welcomed by industry professionals across the country as a chance to see where the body was succeeding and falling short when it came to making a positive contribution to bringing down the rates of death and injury in the workplace.
A Bit of History
The Health and Safety Executive was created in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and merged with the Health and Safety Commission in 2008. The key duties of the HSE include:
- Encouraging and enforcing the objectives of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- Make arrangements and encourage research, publications and training in relation to the act and surrounding work
- Propose new regulations
The HSE has continually evolved with the times and has adapted since its inception nearly 40 years ago and the rates of people dying and getting injured at work are dropping, some of which may be down to the work of the HSE.
New Updates to the HSE
The most recent review looked into the effectiveness of the HSE and found that is it still playing a key role in bringing down the levels of injury and illness caused by or occurring at work. The review is the fourth that has occurred since 2010 and there have been several others claiming that a more robust system is needed. Despite these claims the HSE has stood the test of time and overall the system was deemed fit for purpose.
The reviews main points were summed up as:
- The need for a new approach to measuring the HSE’s performance and impact overall
- Recommendations to enhance and support the effectiveness of the board
- Development of closer links between the HSE, local authorities and other government departments
- Opposition to the privatisation of the Health and Safety Laboratory
- The need for a more proactive role in the EU
- The need for a more central focus on work-related health damage and injury
- The need for better use of social media to encourage SMEs
- The end of the Free for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme which had been creating a negative image for HSE inspectors
HSE and Avoiding Accidents in the Workplace
The HSE is designed to make your workplace a safer place and the practices they carry out are, on the whole, working. It is dependent on your employer to uphold their regulations of course and at Lamb & Co. we particularly welcome the commitment to a more central focus on work-related health damage. We see many cases of accidents in the workplace which could easily have been avoided if health and safety guidelines were followed.