Since the announcement in April of funding from Central Government to the Health & Safety Executive being cut we were left wondering how can the same organisation run effectively with such a huge financial blow?
This is going to be one uphill struggle, I mean we are not talking a few pounds here it will have been reduced by a whopping £100 million from 2009/10 – 2019/20 equalling a reduction of 46%.
So how are HSE going to cope with this dramatic change in funds?
One way to make a significant contribution is to simplify regulations around the use of chemicals, namely the control of Lead at Work Regulations and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations.
The Business plan outlines what HSE aims to deliver in 2016/17 which includes commitment to:
leading and engaging those who undertake or influencing health and safety. Through guidance, raising awareness and leadership we will seek to change behaviour;
ensuring the regulatory framework remains effective and that we are delivering the government’s regulatory reform agenda and Business Improvement Target;
securing effective risk management and control through a variety of interventions with businesses. This includes permissioning and licensing activities, inspections, investigations of incidents and concerns raised by workers and others. It also means holding to account those who fail to meet their obligations to protect people from harm;
reducing the likelihood of low-frequency, high-impact catastrophic incident and the potential for extensive harm to workers and the public.
HSE says its priorities for 2016/17 include work-related ill-health, communications with SMEs, refreshing and publishing its sector strategies and identifying and actively engaging with significant initiatives linking to the themes of ‘Helping Great Britain work well’ that are led by others.
The report also says that a priority for the coming year is developing a revised approach to creating and publishing guidance, ensuring it is proportionate, meets the needs of users and makes best use of digital channels.
However this begs the question how? Will HSE not have to downsize? Will this not impact of functionality? Will more workers and public be put at risk?
We will leave you to ponder but as the old saying goes………something’s gotta give.