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HSE publishes Business Plan for 2017/18

18 April 2017

The UK Health & Safety Executive has published its Business Plan for 2017/18, which includes a continuing focus on reducing the likelihood of low-frequency, high impact catastrophic incidents in high hazard industries, as well as supporting the UK’s exit from the European Union. The article below is the HSE’s outline plan for the period, signed off by CEO Richard Judge and Chair Michael Temple.

Great Britain has a health and safety record we can all be proud of. We are one of the safest places in the world to work in. Nonetheless, the plateaus we see in our health and safety statistics are also a stark reminder of the challenges we face in continuing to improve Britain’s performance while we adapt to the rapidly changing world around us.

The benefits of continual improvement are substantial: for workers a healthier and safer workplace; for businesses, productivity and innovation; and for the wider economy reducing the £14 billion impact of work-related injuries and ill health, together with enabling the growth opportunities that come with creating a more attractive place to do business.

This plan outlines what HSE will deliver in 2017/18. It does not attempt to capture all that we do. Instead it highlights specific priorities, within an overall framework that reinforces our ongoing commitment to:

·  leading and engaging those who undertake or influence health and safety – capitalising on the enthusiasm and collaboration we have been delighted to see since launching Helping Great Britain work well. This involves using modern communication and technology to change behaviours, and continuing to support our activities through robust science and evidence

·  ensuring the regulatory framework remains effective. This includes making sure that we are delivering the government’s regulatory agenda and supporting the UK’s exit from the European Union

·  securing effective risk management and control through a variety of regulatory tools that involve direct interactions with dutyholders. This includes our licensing activities, sustaining existing levels of intelligence-led inspections and investigating incidents, with people being held to account for their failures through firm, but fair, enforcement of the law

·  reducing the likelihood of low-frequency, high impact catastrophic incidents and the potential for extensive harm to workers and the public. Major hazard dutyholders are subject to a level of regulatory scrutiny proportionate to their risks and performance. This includes considering leadership, workforce competence and engagement, and maintenance of asset integrity

This plan takes forward key elements from HSE’s overall strategy Helping Great Britain work well, in particular:

·  emphasising ill health as we build on the recent launch of our Health and Work programme, with its focus on respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, and occupational stress and related mental health issues

·  reinforcing proportionate approaches by setting expected standards, targeting our intelligence-led interventions, and ensuring any enforcement action takes into account the seriousness of risks. For businesses, and in particular for SMEs, this is seen in the beginning of our work on ‘blue tape’ (where businesses place excessive burdens on each other)

·  ensuring value for money for the taxpayer by reducing our reliance on government funding while continuing to improve our efficiency and effectiveness

·  bringing together the breadth of capability and expertise across HSE, and benefiting from effective collaboration with the many other people and organisations that have a stake in improving health and safety in the workplace

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