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HSE To Launch New Strategy For 21st Century

HSE To Launch New Strategy For 21st Century Speaking at the CCA Conference on the Future of Health and Safety Enforcement in London on 24th November, HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt announced the launch of a new strategy by the HSE.

Promising that the strategy will also focus on trade union and worker involvement, Judith said:

"Looking to the future, we will launch the new strategy for Health and Safety in Great Britain in the 21st century on 3rd December. It will be launched simultaneously at events in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. That date will mark the start of a 3 month consultation process but one which is different from previous HSE consultations. Our work to date in developing the strategy has been different too - because what we have produced is a strategy which describes the whole health and safety system as well as the regulator's role within it.

The strategy has been a true partnership process involving Local Authority co-regulators as well as HSE.

Judith HackittThe strategy will not be revolutionary but it will set out to optimise the performance of the overall health and safety system. It will clarify the roles of the regulated, the regulator, the workforce and the many others who are part of the system. We will emphasise the importance of leadership - from the top of every organisation starting with the Boards and individual directors. We will place leadership at the heart of what we see as the overriding strategic aim - the prevention of death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activity.

There will be a strong focus on a proportionate approach - by dutyholders in being pragmatic and sensible in their approach to risk management, by health and safety professionals in giving competent advice which takes account of the need to encourage a common sense approach. It is neither desirable nor practical for any of us to be in the business of risk elimination. We will make it clear that worker involvement and consultation is important in every organisation - where trades unions are present and where they are not and in all organisations irrespective of their size or dispersal of work locations. Every organisation is different and the risk profile will vary from one organisation to another.

To reduce the toll of work-related injury and ill health we need to improve our ability to focus on priorities - whether by industry, by sector, by region of GB, or by individual issue. We need every organisation to take ownership of the process to identify its own risk profile. That prioritising process must also recognise and distinguish health, and safety and the different approaches which will be required to address the precursors of both. It is clear that the risks, and hence the priorities, for dutyholders, employees and regulators will differ considerably between for example construction on the one hand and a large NHS Trust on the other. It is essential that our new approach addresses the key priorities sector by sector, business by business and region by region.

We will also continue to put effort into those sectors which continue to carry a high risk and higher actual occurrence of serious injuries and fatalities. Because they carry well known risks cannot be an excuse for continued performance which is out of line with what other sectors manage to achieve. We may well need to pilot new ways of addressing these persistent areas of concern. Small businesses will continue to be a major component of the British economy.

We will work with the SME community to help them understand how to comply with health and safety law in a way which is proportionate to the risks of their business and which gives those businesses greater confidence to take decisions for themselves within a goal setting framework.

HSE and its partners in Local Authorities will focus on key activities to ensure that dutyholders manage their workplaces to assure health and safety of the workforce and the public where they are affected by work. Those activities will include providing advice and guidance on what the law requires taking appropriate enforcement action where there have been breaches of the law alerting dutyholders to new and emerging risks as they are identified proposing new regulation where/when there is a need.

Our enforcement policy will remain unchanged. It is quite clear to me that HSE cannot do all of this alone - we need the commitment and support of all stakeholders - and I mean commitment to join with us in delivery not just endorsement of the principles outlined in the strategy."

Judith Hackitt's full speech to the CCA conference can be read here


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