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HSC/E Draft simplification plan

The Commission and HSE have long been committed to the principles of better regulation.    Legislation that is easy to understand and comply with will help secure stronger commitment from business and so improve health and safety outcomes with no lessening in levels of protection for workers or the public.  It also supports our risk based, targeted approach to enforcement.  Wider promotion of health and safety using non-legislative routes to improvement has a vital complementary role, not least in reaching SMEs and building understanding that well managed health and safety brings business benefits.

We therefore welcome the challenge set by Government, following the recent Hampton and BRTF reports, to develop a draft simplification plan by February 2006.  To find out more, please visit the Better Regulation website. We now invite stakeholder comment on the initial draft plan below.  Key themes include:

We would welcome comments on the initial draft simplification plan attached. Please send your comments to initially by 25 January 2006, although we will welcome comments and suggestions after that date because it is a rolling plan. We will develop it further over the next 3 months taking account of stakeholder input and the outcome of a cross-government exercise to measure administrative burdens on business.  

We plan to publish more developed proposals in Spring 2006.

HSC/E Initial Simplification Plan (Draft)

Initiative Outcome Milestones/deadlines
Culture change initiatives

(1) Forms review

Zero based approach.  Remove unnecessary record-keeping, notifications, etc.  Explore interactive electronic form based transactions that would reduce burdens.

Removal of 25% of cost of forms.

Illustrative example cost saving, based on removal of a form notifying of construction work: £0.18m - £1.23m (1st year - indicative estimate).

Benefit to all sectors.

By end Dec 05 identifies:

  • forms that can be removed completely during 2006 (at least 25% of total);
  • forms that could be removed following legislative reform;
  • form burdens that could be removed by innovative approaches;
  • forms to be kept because they are delivering HSC/E priorities.

(2) Mergers with other regulators

Gangmaster Licensing Authority, Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, Coal Authority and Engineering Inspectorate.

Reduce administrative burdens on business by reducing the number of enforcing bodies.

A reduction in administrative burdens on businesses via more efficient enforcement.

Specific sectors to benefit: agriculture; coal extraction; outdoor activities; power generation & supply.

‘Hampton report’ estimate: up to 33% less inspection across Government.

June 05: Began explorative work with the other regulators.

Oct 06: Detailed merger plans prepared & implemented.

April 09: Mergers completed. It is expected that most will be concluded well ahead of schedule.

(3) Sensible risk management

A campaign tackling excessive risk aversion.

Main outcomes:
  • better understanding amongst business people and key opinion formers that sensible health and safety is about managing risk, not trying to eliminate it altogether;
  • greatly increased awareness amongst health and safety professionals of the need to give balanced advice and to draw attention to excessive risk aversion.

The campaign has already begun.

End 2005: Complete Phase 1, including initial research findings, first guidance revision and awareness-raising amongst all working in health and safety.

Subsequent timing and targets to be influenced by results from first phase.

(4) Exploring alternatives to regulation

Stress Management Standards

A non-mandatory approach that provides employers with a framework to assess the risk to their employees from work-related stress.

Management standards were developed in partnership with stakeholders.

Approach has been welcomed by business and trade unions.

Reduction in days lost to work related stress, contributing to PSA targets of reducing ill-health by 6% and days lost by 9%.

Benefit to all sectors.

Nov ’04: Standards launched.

May ’05: 3-phase implementation began.

2008: Report outcome (via ‘FIT3’ Strategic Delivery Programme report).

(5) Guidance

Encourage and support organisations in the production of their own health and safety guidance.
Guidance produced has industry ownership and credibility. Ongoing.

(6) Penalties

Health and Safety Law provides few sentencing options for the Courts.  This initiative is exploring alternative penalties to help reduce burdens and simplify enforcement process.

Delivery through research on the advantages and disadvantages of various penalties; will consider time and cost savings to business undergoing enforcement.

Potential for additional enforcement tools available to regulator resulting in simplification and increased efficiency of enforcement processes and judicial system.

Oct 05: Input to Better Regulation Executive on Administrative Fines.

2006: Research and consultation on alternative penalty options, with proposed input to Better Regulation Executive overview of regulators’ penalty regimes.

Legislative initiatives

(7) Asbestos regulations

(implementing EU Directive)

Offsetting simplification measures

Consult on proposals to:

  • consolidate three sets of regulations into one;
  • remove licensing requirement for textured decorative coatings sector.  Cost saving: £206m - £365m over 50 years.
31 Jan 06: Consultation closes.
6 April 06: In force.

(8) Embedding principles of BR in policy development:

Common Commencement Dates – all domestic legislation to come onto force on 6 April or 1 October.  HSE implemented in Feb 2005.  Now extending to European legislation, where possible.

6 out of 7 legislative proposals came into effect as planned on 6 April 05; 2 out of 3 on 1 Oct 05.
5 out of 7 European proposals aligned with the 1 Oct ‘05 CCD.
Jan & July 06: Publish statements of forthcoming legislation . Ongoing

HSE Challenge Panel

Test proposals against the principles of good regulation and promote best practice in policy development.  Challenge the need for regulatory approach.

Better regulation compliant approaches to regulatory and non-regulatory proposals.

13 July 05: 1st meeting held.

11 Nov 05: 2nd meeting held.
Meets 3/4 times a year.

HSC Small Business Trade Association Forum

To ensure the ‘voice’ of small business is heard by HSC/E.

Policy and legislation fully takes into account the impact on small and micro businesses. Meets 4 times a year.

(9) Simplifying legislative proposals

Construction regulations – offsetting simplification measure.

Proposals for: four sets of regulations to be replaced by one; remove/simplify information obligations; and improve management of construction projects.
Simplification cost savings: £122.1m - £143m over 10 years.

Benefit to construction sector.

31 Aug 05: Consultation ended.

1 Oct ’06 (prov): In force.

Offshore installations

Remove unnecessary burdens and enhance value of safety case to duty holder.

Simplification cost savings to business: £45.1m - £76.5m over 10 years. 6 April 06: In force.

Nuclear reactors decommissioning

Improve efficiency and reduce costs.  Proposals for a more proportionate and flexible approach to the approval of changes to decommissioning project.  Industry support.

Simplification cost savings: £7.9m - £26.6m over the course of a project (100 years).

Benefit to nuclear industry.

31 Oct ’05: consultation closed.

6 April 06: In force.

Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations

Simplify to produce easily understood reporting system.  Fundamental review.

A reporting system that is easier to understand and comply with. No cost details at this time but business savings are envisaged. Business submits approx 231,000 notifications per annum.

Benefit to all sectors.

Mar – Jun ’05: Scoping consultation (Discussion Document).

July - Oct ‘06: formal consultation.

2007: In force.

Enforcement initiatives

(10) Why HSE staff visit business

Short explanation of how risk determines which businesses are visited and what will be covered during a visit.  On HSE internet site.

Greater transparency. Businesses will better understand why they are selected for visits and the focus of those visits.

Benefit to all sectors.

Sept 05: Published on HSE internet site.

(11) Local Authorities partnership

Developing the HSE/LA partnership to get the best health and safety outcomes.  HSE and LAs (over 400) will work locally, regionally and nationally, to common objectives and standards, in line with the Enforcement Concordat.  Focusing resources on agreed priorities and with a common regulatory strategy.

A more consistent and effective enforcement service. 

Benefit to all sectors.

Feb 06: Partnership arrangements agreed by HSC.

May 06: Partnership arrangements in place.

31 Mar 07: 40% of LAs working towards h&s targets, with annual incremental increases thereafter.

(12) Large Organisation Partnership Pilot (LOPP)

Prevent irrelevant and/or uncoordinated interventions by health and safety regulators (particularly for multi-site organisations).

Working with Local Authority regulators and 15 large organisations (ie 10,000+ employees).

A more coherent, customer- focused involvement with large organisations; better management of interventions by the regulator.

Benefit to all sectors.

Oct 06: 12 month pilot evaluated.

(13) HSE’s approach to sensible enforcement – The Enforcement Programme (in partnership with LAs)

This programme of work is designed to address the concerns of law abiding businesses that, while they have the burden of compliance, some competitors can put people at risk for financial gain without fear of being caught or punished; and to reduce the burden on society through enforcement that is delivered and communicated in an effective, efficient, appropriate and targeted way.

  1. Bring those that break the law to account quicker.
  2. Efficient and effective enforcement activities used in agreed priority areas.
  3. Enforcement activities consistent and targeted.
  4. Clarity for business about when, why & how enforcement will be taken; a deterrent and multiplier effect.

Benefit to all sectors.

Dec 05: Improve efficiency of HSE’s prosecution processes.

Dec 05: Align enforcement to support reduction in time lost caused by work related incidents.

April 06: Develop new operational capability enabling inspectors to deliver the required enforcement, eg forensic accountancy skills.

April 06: Implement Enforcement Communications Strategy.

(14) HSE’s approach to sensible enforcement – Targeting of inspection activities

Prevent unnecessary or unjustified inspections of organisations whose activities are low risk and/or levels of compliance are good.

Future inspections focus on poor performance, HSE’s priority topics and improvements needed to deliver targets.

Benefit to all sectors.

Oct 05: inspection profile developed.

Jan 06: Complete review of current HSE approach.

(15) HSE’s approach to sensible enforcement – Working with other regulators

Prevent uncoordinated or competing demands being placed on business by different regulators.

Reduced administrative burdens placed on organisations across all sectors.

Improved planning and working with other regulators, including more joint inspection.

Benefit to all sectors.

Dec 05: Publish good practice on HSE website.

Mar 06: Establish arrangements to pilot joint inspection approaches.

Updated 2013-01-14