HSE and other regulators involved in investigating any work-related death want to work together as effectively and efficiently as possible. To help to do this protocols and liaison arrangements between the various organisations have been agreed and recorded in Work-related Death Protocols (WRDP).
In England and Wales the National Liaison Committee (NLC) own and review the operation of the Work-related Deaths Protocol for England and Wales (WRDP). In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is responsible for reviewing the operation of the Work-related Deaths Protocol (WRDP) for Scotland, with the help of the signatory organisations. Two separate protocols are in place to reflect the different legal systems that operate in England and Wales, and Scotland.
Introduced in 1998, and last updated in September 2011, the WRDP sets out the principles for effective liaison during criminal investigations of work-related deaths in England and Wales.
There are nine signatories to the WRDP, and these include the Health and Safety Executive; Office of Rail and Road; Police through the Association of Chief Police Officers; Crown Prosecution Service; Local Government Association and the Welsh Local Government Association; British Transport Police; Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Fire and Rescue Services through the Chief Fire Officers Association. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Medical Devices Division, became a signatory to the Work-related Deaths Protocol for England and Wales via an addendum from 1st April 2012. WRDP signatories have a specific role in investigating or prosecuting work-related fatal incidents.
Whilst the Coroners’ Society is not a signatory to the WRDP, they are an integral part of operating the WRDP effectively. There is a Memorandum of Understanding between the HSE and the Coroners’ Society which was last reviewed in September 2011.
In addition to the nine signatories, other organisations acknowledging the Protocol and its principles of liaison are the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Port Police Chief Officer's Association (PPCOA).
Scotland has its own version of the WRDP. The Protocol has been agreed between the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), HSE, Office of Rail and Road (ORR), Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), and the British Transport Police. The Scottish LA’s (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities – COSLA) are not a signatory, but support the protocol and aim to work in accordance with its recommendations.