HSE has identified three new initiatives for inclusion in this Plan. Two of the initiatives aim to improve health and safety outcomes as well as reducing administrative burdens. The third initiative will remove an outdated, unnecessary form, and complements HSE’s existing forms project. With the addition of these projects, HSE has identified initiatives that will reduce administrative burdens by just over 25% if successful.
HSE has produced new combined good practice guidance on the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations and the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations. The objective is to facilitate better dialogue and co-operation between employers and employees on health and safety matters, and thereby improving health and safety standards at work.
The guidance also aims to clarify employer requirements on the provision of information to their health and safety representatives: employers only have to provide health and safety information that they already have as part of their health and safety management system, and do not need to provide it in a different format or provide further information.
Clarifying this requirement aims to save businesses an estimated £36.6 million annually, according to the ABME figures. Following publication of the guidance and a high profile launch in October, the guidance will be promoted by HSE prior to an assessment of business take up of the guidance and whether the projected savings have been delivered.
In addition to the 8 forms HSE has been working to remove as part of its forms project, HSE’s review of forms, also recommended that a further form, required by the Docks Regulations 1988 to certify a dock transport vessel, should be removed.
Preliminary discussions suggest that the docks industry is content to remove this form, which will save businesses in this sector £3.4 million annually. HSE is working with the industry to produce comprehensive new industry guidance, and will then seek to remove the Docks Approved Code of Practice. HSE also plans to remove the legislative requirement for the docks form at the same time – prior to April 2010.
HSE is planning to introduce an electronic template for recording a risk assessment, which will complement the example risk assessment work under HSE’s Sensible Risk Management campaign. The template would also cover the need to have a written health and safety policy statement and a record of arrangements. The aim of the template is to save businesses further time in recording their risk assessment, encouraging compliance with the requirement.
The template will be available on HSE’s website from April 2009, for businesses to download and complete drawing on HSE website materials, such as the example risk assessments and other industry specific guidance. HSE is currently looking at estimating how much the template will save businesses in administrative burdens per year.