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Responses to the consultation on proposals for amendments to the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989 (HSIER)

Summary

The consultation began on 19 May.  Over 200 organisations and individuals subscribed to the online consultation.  A total of 195 responses were received by the closing date of 11 August, including 193 online questionnaire responses. 

In total, 172 respondents (89%) agreed with the first proposal for new approved posters and leaflets displaying information on how employees can contact their local enforcing authority and EMAS.  21 respondents (11%) disagreed – these were all individuals, not representative organisations.  116 respondents provided comments on this proposal.

133 respondents (69%) agreed with the second proposal that employers be allowed to continue displaying a legible unrevised poster or giving an unrevised leaflet after HSE has published a new approved poster and leaflet.  59 respondents (31%) disagreed with this proposal.  Five of these were representative organisations, and 54 were individuals.  117 respondents provided comments on this proposal.

Of the 176 respondents who expressed a view about the consultation itself, 165 (93%) thought it explained the issues and proposed changes either ‘very well’ or ‘well’.  11 respondents (7%) thought it did so ‘not well’ or ‘poorly’.

Detail of responses

Responses from representative organisations

Organisations representing workers

Responses were received from the GMB, NASUWT, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), TUC, and Unite the Union.  With the exception of the RCN, these organisations agreed with both proposals.  The RCN agreed with the first proposal, but favoured a timeframe for phasing out the unrevised poster, once a new poster is approved.

GMB suggested introduction of digital licensing for the poster, so that employers of migrant workers could also download translated versions.

Organisations representing employers

Responses were received from the Chemical Business Association, Engineering Construction Industry Association, Federation of Master Builders, National Association of Master Bakers, and Well Services Contractors Association.  These organisations agreed with both proposals.

Other representative organisations

Responses were received from the Actuarial Profession, Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (UK), Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Association of Police Safety and Health Advisers (Scotland), British Safety Council, Charities Safety Group, ChurchSafety, Confederation of British Wool Textiles, Construction Health and Safety Group Ltd, Federation of Petroleum Suppliers Ltd., Heritage Railway Association, Institute of Directors, LG Regulation (formerly LACORS), Rail Safety and Standards Board, Scottish Council on Deafness, Society of Occupational Medicine.

All of these organisations agreed with the first proposal.  Three-quarters agreed with the second proposal that employers be allowed to continue displaying a legible unrevised poster or giving an unrevised leaflet after HSE has published a new approved poster and leaflet.  The Actuarial Profession, APIL, Charities Safety Group and the Scottish Council on Deafness disagreed, preferring a timeframe, such as 3 or 5 years, in which unrevised posters and leaflets should be replaced.  The Charities Safety Group, for instance, considered this proposal would create a dual standard and possibly discriminate against those groups of workers who cannot read or understand the existing poster.

Responses from organisations and individuals

Do you agree with proposal for new approved posters and leaflets displaying information on how employees can contact their local enforcing authority and EMAS?

Comment No. of mentions
Will overcome problem of blank or out-of-date information boxes 20
More user friendly, simple, immediate and eye-catching, plain English 12
Practical benefits – avoid problems of fading/illegibility 10
Poster/leaflet available should be electronically available/downloadable 9
Should also provide details of HSE website 5
Not convinced of arguments about reducing administrative burden 4
Proposal unnecessary 4
Will make employers more complacent 3
Agree with arguments about reducing administrative burden 2
Content of poster should more closely fit with current risk profile 1
Will increase confusion about enforcing authority 1

Do you agree with proposal that employers be allowed to continue displaying a legible unrevised poster or giving an unrevised leaflet after HSE has published a new approved poster and leaflet?

Comment No. of mentions
There should be a fixed transition period – for example, 3-5 years 20
Will be confusion with several versions on display – needs consistency 16
Agree there should be no fixed transition period – otherwise will be extra burden on business 15
It is desirable that employers should have to find out the information needed 1
Should have electronic version of leaflet available for field staff 1
Updated 2013-01-14