LAC 67/2 (rev5) - Setting priorities and targeting interventions
Annex A - Summary of national planning priorities 2016 - 2017
This annex sets out the 2016-2017 local authority national planning priorities. Note: Not all national priorities have an inspection component.
NOTE: The new Health and Safety strategy, ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’ was published on 29th February 2016. This sets out six strategic themes for the whole of the GB health and safety system. LA workplace health and safety regulators are a key part of that system, and will be expected to play their role in:
- Encouraging and recognising improvements, being increasingly joined up to deliver improved outcomes and minimise unnecessary burdens on businesses;
- Continuing to promote the risk-based, goal-setting regulatory regime that has served health and safety in Great Britain so well;
- Working with partners in the system to make workplaces safer and healthier, providing a level playing field for responsible employers with regulators and co-regulators, by advising, promoting, and where necessary, enforcing good standards of risk control;
- Using proportionate, risk-based regulation to support better outcomes, innovation and the safe use of new technologies;
- Developing services and products that contribute to improved management and control of risks, sharing our knowledge, and
- Continuing the dialogue and conversation with stakeholders to make the system better, always looking to provide simple, pragmatic advice and support.
Further updates will be communicated to Local Authority Regulators in future yearly revisions of this LAC, the List of activities/sectors for proactive inspections by LAs) and bulletins via the Helex system.
LAs should use the full range of interventions available to influence behaviours and the management of risk.
Proactive inspection should only be used:
- For high risk activities within the specific LA enforced sectors published by HSE (See List of activities/sectors for proactive inspection by LAs); or
- Where there is intelligence showing that risks are not being effectively managed.
In both circumstances, LAs have the discretion as to whether or not proactive inspection is the most appropriate intervention.
Primary Authority inspection plans should follow the principles of the Code and be developed taking into account the national priorities (see below), the list of activities/sectors considered suitable for proactive inspection and company/site specific information.
- Construction - Although most construction work is regulated by HSE, LA health and safety regulators can make a significant contribution to addressing construction health and safety risks. Where the owners/occupiers of commercial premises at general visits appear likely to be clients for construction work, LAs should draw their attention to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015 and the duties they have as CDM clients, referring them to advice available. In addition, there are a number of specific topic areas LAs should address during the course of their visits, as outlined below. These concur with priorities in the HSE Construction Division Plan of Work 2015-16.
- Falls from height – work on/adjacent to fragile roofs/materials - Fragile roofs/skylights etc., can be found at many premises that fall to LAs for enforcement. Where they are identified during visits , LAs should discuss the associated risks, to ensure that prospective clients for repair and maintenance work (owner or building user) is aware of their duties under CDM 2015 and the precautions needed, referring them to the appropriate guidance. On occasions, LA health and safety regulators may come across work on a fragile roof that is underway at the premises being visited (typically, small-scale repairs/maintenance such as gutter cleaning). The risks may give rise to a matter of evident concern (MEC), in which case, poor standards should be addressed with all duty holders – client, designers and contractors, and any enforcement action taken in accordance with the Enforcing Authority (EA) Regulations 1998and in collaboration with HSE, where appropriate and using normal channels.
- Health risks - respirable silica dust - Dust, containing harmful respirable crystalline silica (RCS), can be generated during common operations such as block cutting, chasing brickwork and cutting concrete floors. The standards for controlling this dust are detailed in HSE guidance (Construction hazardous substances: construction dust and CIS36). During visits, LAs may come across minor construction work that is generating significant quantities of silica dust that give rise to a MEC. Poor standards should be addressed with dutyholders, and any enforcement action taken in accordance with the EA Regulations 1998, collaborating with HSE where appropriate, using normal channels. See operational guidance on silica used by HSE Inspectors6. See operational guidance on silica used by HSE Inspectors.
- Duty to manage asbestos -In premises likely to contain asbestos (i.e. built before 2000) LA health and safety regulators should draw dutyholders’ attention to their duty to manage and the relevant HSE guidance/webpages. On occasions, failure to manage the risks from asbestos (e.g. failure to maintain in a safe condition or minor construction work that breaches the fabric of the building without proper surveys, controls or planning) may need to be dealt with immediately as a MEC. Where management of asbestos risks arises as a MEC and standards are particularly poor, LAs should take appropriate enforcement action, in accordance with the EA Regulations 1998, collaborating with HSE where necessary and using normal channels.
- Visitor attractions to prevent or control ill health arising from animal contact - select the most appropriate intervention (See Preventing or controlling ill-health from animal contact at visitor attractions – guidance on inspection and enforcement and List of activities/sectors for proactive inspection by LAs.
- Investigation of incidents and complaints - LAs should use HSEs incident selection criteria and complaint handling to select relevant incidents and complaints.
- Proactive visits as part of a Home Office led cross agency operation to tackle labour exploitation - The Home Office Immigration Enforcement’s (HOIE) Operation Magnify will run throughout 2016 with planned weeks of activity across England, Wales and Scotland. The initiative will target businesses across the UK that employ illegal migrant workers and an outline of some early activity in this operation can be found via the GovUK news pages.
It is not possible for HSE to provide advanced details of the sectors or timing of visits for this work year. Whilst HOIE do plan to share the businesses they intend to target in advance, there could be a need for LAs to respond at short notice. LAs will be contacted directly and will only be expected to visit where there are occupational health and safety issues, identified either through information provided by the other agencies involved, or information already held by the LA. LAs should ensure any visits undertaken meet the requirements of the Code.
LAs may find the guidance in the Migrant working intervention manual useful. It addresses how HSE staff should operate the Joint Workplace Protocol for tackling illegal employment of migrant workers and the broader principles governing how HSE shares information with other Government departments and agencies to prevent exploitation.
Investigation of incidents and complaints - LAs should use HSEs incident selection criteria and complaint handling criteria/risk filter to select relevant incidents and complaints.
Reactive work including the monitoring of RIDDOR reports and complaints to identify reports of ill health, accidents, incidents, poor performance, trends and local issues which may require further interventions or issues which may need to be taken forward nationally.