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IOSH wants H&S framework simplified and strengthened

The UK’s health and safety legal framework is strong and standards must not be weakened but more has to be done to help businesses comply, IOSH has warned.

The comments were delivered as part of a submission to the HSE, which is compiling a report for the Government on the UK’s implementation of European occupational safety and health directives since 2007.

IOSH said current health and safety legislation and approved codes of practice (ACoPs) had contributed “immeasurably” to the protection of workers in the UK and would continue to do so. It also backed the drive to streamline and simplify the raft of safety regulations and associated guidance, but warned that this process must not involve a slide in standards.

To guard against any weakening, IOSH called on the Government to provide more support for business, not less, and to reinstate the HSE Infoline and proactive inspections in those sectors in which these have been withdrawn.

Other measures proposed by the Institution include:

  • Strengthening the existing system by defining more clearly the competence requirements of those providing health and safety assistance, as well as making directors’ duties explicit;
  • Updating regulations and guidance and improving their presentation to encourage compliance;
  • Retaining ACoPs, for the degree of certainty they provide duty-holders in applying regulations; and
  • Improving risk education in the UK’s goal-setting, risk-based system, with the aim of helping create a “risk-intelligent”Ÿ society, stronger economy and sustainable world of work.

IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones said he would like to see the value and expertise of professional bodies recognised more within the current framework.

“We believe it is important that relevant professional bodies are included, and that the consultation process is wider and more inclusive than the current tripartite system, involving only government, employers and employees,” he explained.

“We are keen to help build, share and apply the evidence base for policy and practice in health and safety. And IOSH has also been pleased to contribute suggested proposals for the development of the new EU OSH Strategy 2013-20.”

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