18.12.2007

Have your say on UK Health&Safety

The Better Regulation Executive (BRE) is looking at how the health and safety regime in the UK affects small employers and employers whose overall risk is relatively low.

Its objective is to find ways to make compliance easier for these organisations, improve health and safety outcomes for their employees, and maintain the confidence of the public in the health and safety system as a whole. The BRE is looking for input and views from interested parties the CPA is preparing a response from companies in the rental business.

In order to contribute to CPA’s response, please send your responses to Kevin Minton by 24 January 2008. Email to kevin.minton@cpa.uk.net, or post to CPA, 27/28 Newbury Street, Barbican, London EC1A 7HU.


Summary of questions asked in the call for evidence

1.Do you believe the British health and safety system achieves the right balance between protecting workers, and the demands it places on employers and others?

BRE is particularly interested in your views and evidence about:

•how the system works and could be improved for small and low risk employers and workers in such firms;

•what you think about attempts to communicate all legal requirements on particular types of employer in one document (e.g. via businesslink.gov.uk), if you are aware of these, and if you feel there would be any additional advantage from actually consolidating regulations, that is reducing the number of sets of legal rules;

•if it would be helpful if employers could demonstrate they meet obligations by completing a checklist or being accredited to a standard;

•whether you know of initiatives that offer lessons in how to improve outcomes and reduce burdens (that you have not mentioned elsewhere); and

•HSC and HSE’s programme to reduce burdens on employers - this is described in their ‘Simplification Plan’.


2.Do you think the way the health and safety system is perceived by employers, workers and the wider public in Britain has a significant impact, e.g. on accident rates, or on the way employers act?

BRE is particularly interested in your views and evidence about:

•the key drivers of perceptions about the health and safety system;

•whether you feel that other regulatory requirements affect perceptions about health and safety, such as those on food safety, fire safety and building control;

•the effects of perceptions on other things, for example accident rates, ill-health rates, employer or employee behaviour;

•how health and safety systems in other countries are perceived, and if there are any differences from the UK experience; and

•how perceptions might be improved.

3.How can good health and safety management best be encouraged and recognised?

BRE is particularly interested in your views and evidence about:

•the factors that are most effective in motivating employers to improve health and safety in their workplaces;

•whether discounts on insurance premiums for good health and safety management could significantly change behaviour, and how small employers’ standards could be verified in a reliable and cost-effective way; and

•whether procurement processes, or customer-supplier relationships represent a good way of ensuring employers manage health and safety adequately.


4.Do you believe fear of compensation claims has any influence on the way in which health and safety is managed? If so, how?

BRE is particularly interested in your views and evidence about:

•whether employers act because of fear of being sued, and if so what sort of actions they take; and

•whether employers have an accurate understanding of what they might have to pay.


5.What more, if anything, do you believe Government should do to ensure employers have access to affordable, authoritative information and advice on health and safety?

BRE is particularly interested in your views and evidence about:

•whether there are specific issues on which you feel there is insufficient clear written guidance or advice;

•examples of good (and, if you have received it, bad) information and its source;

•your views on the ‘Example Risk Assessments’ published on the HSE website if you have read them. These are examples of short ‘good enough’ records of a health and safety risk assessment;

•whether particular advisors are more trusted and if authoritative advice given by a regulator is especially desirable;

•whether and how Government should ensure tailored advice about health and safety is accessible to employers with limited resources, and how this could best be provided for those with difficulties in using written information; and

•whether you feel there is sufficient information on health and safety available for people other than employers (for example workers including volunteers, charitable/voluntary sector organisations)?


6.How can regulators best ensure that employers minimise ill-health that is caused or made worse by work?

BRE is particularly interested in your views and evidence about:

•whether regulators should promote a risk assessment and control approach for health risks with multiple causes, and if so how;

•whether you have any concerns regarding any new or emerging risks to health and safety at work, and your proposed solution; and

•what regulators should do (if anything) to promote occupational health advice including on rehabilitation, and general healthy living messages?


7.What improvements could be made to help HSE and Local Authority inspectors target rogue employers?

BRE is particularly interested in your views on

•how regulators should target their efforts on employers who present the greatest risks. You may, for example, feel they should use information about business sector, occupation of employees, size of employer or attitudes or skills of managers.


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