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Mandatory Activities


47. HSC has responsibility for a number of activities that support the delivery of operational programmes and improve duty holders’ ability to comply with the law. These include work to modernise and simplify the regulatory framework; provide information and advice; and promote science and innovation. The activities in this Block influence all aspects of HSC and HSE’s work and the delivery of other Blocks in the Strategic Plan including the PSA targets.

Modernise and simplify the regulatory framework

48. In 2003/04, HSC will take forward projects to support its long term aims to modernise and simplify the regulatory framework, to deliver European commitments and to engage stakeholders in its strategic objectives to improve health and safety. These include a number of projects being taken forward under HSC’s Changing Patterns of Employment Programme to consider health and safety issues relating to atypical workers for example contractorisation, homeworkers, agency workers and mobile workers.

Long term strategic programmes

49. HSE has a number of long-term strategic programmes to improve health and safety and to increase stakeholder engagement and commitment. These include:

50. HSE will continue its work to secure equality in health and safety provision, ensuring that proper account is taken of differences in gender, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation etc in planning and conducting its work. Further details of HSC/E’s programme for ensuring race equality are contained in our race equality scheme:

European and International work

51. In the European Union (EU) and internationally, HSC and HSE will continue to play an active and constructive role to:

Other policy projects

52. HSE will also pursue a range of other policy projects to modernise and improve health and safety legislation in Great Britain including:

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Providing information and advice on health and safety

53. HSE’s information and advisory service promotes the delivery of key health and safety priorities and informs people about their rights and responsibilities and how they can improve the working environment. At the core of this work is the HSE web site and hsedirect, HSE Books – video publications and electronic products; and HSE Infoline – the Contact Centre for telephone, letter, fax and email enquiries. During 2003/4 HSE expects to collect approximately £5million in income from publications.

54. HSE publicises enforcement and intervention activities, and the outcomes of prosecutions and promotes new information products through press releases, press conferences and the web site. This activity plays a key role in adding value to enforcement initiatives and in providing reassurance that we act in the public interest with a strong web presence through the Prosecutions and Notices Databases. HSE plans to review its guidance and to produce fewer new publications consolidating titles ensuring these are directed to where we can achieve best effect in improving health and safety. Where practical, technical publications will be published on the web with hard copies available on demand at low cost.

55. HSE is reorganising its web site around sectors and topics to deliver information in a more accessible way and to enable people to search for information by occupation or job title.

56. HSE aims to raise awareness of safety and health through publicity campaigns supporting Priority Programmes in agriculture and construction (Working Well Together); the European Week of Safety and Health 2003 with its theme of Dangerous Substances, (including occupational asthma, asbestos and E-COSHH); gas safety; and a small business campaign, linked to a new Introductory leaflet in several languages and a new HSE version of the Department for Work and Pensions Accident Book.

57. For Major Hazards, we will reinforce our openness and accountability in the interests of maintaining public confidence through active management of media relations. We publish guidance and reports through “fast-track” procedures that are cost effective and fit for purpose, and meet the needs of relatively small, specialised markets.

58. For Priority Programmes, HSE plans to be proactive and to use the full range of media to engage with, influence and inform our numerous target audiences. Paid publicity features strongly with campaigns, exhibitions, conferences, posters and video, as well as the web. We will continue the Worksmart series on regional TV and increasingly use face-to-face communications, in particular Safety Awareness Days, Business Advice Days, workshops and seminars.

59. HSE allocates approximately £10million of its Programme Budget to promoting and publicising health and safety. This is allocated to support the activities described above as follows.

Pie chart providing information and advice on health and safety (programme budget £10m approx)Long description available

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Science and innovation

60. HSC’s Science and Technology mission is to develop and apply science and technology to provide a sound independent knowledge base to evaluate the risks to people’s health and safety from work activities and the means to assess and control these risks in order to help achieve its objectives. HSC/E's Science & Innovation Strategy (published in August 2001) describes how this mission will be achieved, having particular regard to the priorities set out in HSC’s Strategic Plan 2001-2004. A key aim is to capitalise on existing strengths in terms of flexibility in response to operational needs, whilst making more transparent and direct the links with HSC/E’s high-level goals in the Strategic Plan. This new approach represents a significant shift from the technical topic-based approach followed previously

61. High quality science provides an essential contribution to the formulation of UK and international regulatory decisions regarding people’s health and safety and to the wider agenda of evaluating how effectively HSC/E are meeting the government’s PSA targets. HSE’s 2002 Strategic Research Outlook (published in February 2002) sets out HSE’s strategic science and innovation aims and reflects the priorities in the HSC Strategic Plan 2001/04. The 2003 Strategic Research Outlook has been the subject of wide-ranging consultation and is due to be published in May 2003.

Chief Scientific Adviser’s Guidelines 2000

62. HSC/E has developed a Quality Statement to secure the effective implementation of the Chief Scientific Adviser's Guidelines 2000. Two important commitments are: to ensure that all staff involved in policy and S&I activities have the necessary skills and training to implement Guidelines 2000 and to undertake a programme of compliance audits on the Quality Statement.

63. HSE’s total research and technical support budget for 2003/4 is £34.7m. This combines both scientific research and technical support to operational work such as support to incident investigations and expert evidence in prosecutions (levels of technical support for investigations etc are significantly higher for securing compliance than other blocks). The planned spend across the 5 HSE work blocks is as below. It is expected that the proportion of research expenditure on the priority programmes will increase over the next few years as the programmes become established. The total of £34.7 million does not include HSE’s Nuclear research and support budget, which amounts to about £2million and is paid for through a levy on industry.

64. To secure access to expertise beyond the core capabilities of the Health and Safety Laboratory (described below), HSE has established a Framework Technical Support Agreement with seven external contractors this has an indicative spend of about £2m pa.

Pie chart showing allocation of research ans scientific support across HSE Programme Blocks (total programme budget is £34.7m)Long description available

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Health and Safety Laboratories

65. The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) is Britain's leading industrial health and safety facility. It operates as an Agency of the HSE and plays a pivotal role in supporting HSC/E’s mission. This involves HSL in two main areas of activity: operational support through incident investigations and studies of workplace situations and longer-term work on analysis and resolution of occupational health and safety problems. HSL is currently split between sites at Buxton and at Sheffield, however, in 2002/03 work commenced on a new facility at Buxton under PFI arrangements. This facility should be available for occupancy in Summer 2004. During 2003/04 HSE plans to review its relationship with HSL to ensure that this develops in accordance with the business needs of both organisations.

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Updated 2012-11-07