Supplementary memorandum submitted by
1. Increasing public and political expectations
that the HSE should influence occupational health and safety so
injury and illness rates fall conflict with continued pressure
to reduce public spending. We fear that further reductions in
the HSE's budget will damage the effectiveness of the HSE and
result in an increased burden on the taxpayer through higher accident
2. In each of the four areas outlined by
the Committee, our overall assessment is as follows:
The current legislative background is robust as it is built upon
a tradition of consensus and providing a proportionate response
to health and safety risks. However, the effectiveness of the
legislative background relies upon adequate funding and the professional
of HSE staff.
Resources: The current
squeeze on HSE funding, which has almost halved the proportion
of GDP spent on the HSE since 1992, ensures that the HSE simply
does not have sufficient funds to meet its obligations as a health
and safety regulator. A substantial increase in funding, no less
than 20% and a further 1,000 staff, is required to meet public
and political expectations. HSE funding should also have sufficient
flexibility to allow the organisation to respond to unexpected
major safety incidents, such as Buncefield, and to respond to
changes in public priorities, such as concern over construction
Inspection, enforcement and
prosecutions: The regular inspection of employers by skilled,
experienced inspectors with enforcement powers remains the most
effective mechanism for improving occupational safety so long
as those inspectors have sufficient specialist, policy and scientific
support. Penalties for criminal breaches of health and safety
legislation are relatively low and give a misleading signal that
society does not take death, injury and disease at work as seriously
as other forms of business malpractice.
Hazardous occupations, migrant
workers and occupational health: Additional resources are
needed to tackle the problems in construction, agriculture, chemicals
and off-shore oil production by improving the access of inspectors
to sites. The lack of resources for construction and agriculture
places many migrant workers at increased risk of industrial injury.
The decline in occupational health provision by the HSE is baffling
given the increased impact of ill-health at work and significant
additional investment in the HSE's occupational health service
would have considerable benefit to employers, workers and the
3. In addition, we believe that the current
debate over regulation should focus on what HSE interventions
deliver most benefit to employees, employers and society as a
whole. Whilst the principles of a proportionate approach and a
tripartite partnership between the HSE, employers and unions are
well-established, we still believe that these values underpin
an effective system of occupational health and safety and help
create an intelligent approach to regulation that is ignored by
the often sterile debate between light and heavy forms of regulation.
In our experience, good and efficient employers see the creation
of a safe workplace with a strong commitment to health and safety
as being more appropriate than mere compliance with legislation.
4. Prospect represents over 100,000 professional,
technical, scientific and managerial staff across the economy
but concentrated in the civil service, energy utilities and the
nuclear sector. We are the largest union in the HSE representing
over 1,700 inspectors, policy advisers, scientists and managers.
With our experience of representing other groups of staff in hazardous
industries, we believe that we understand the views of both regulators
and professional staff subject to regulation.
Section A: Legislative background
5. Our experience of applying and enforcing
legislation based on a test of reasonable goal-setting is that
such legislation is by definition proportionate. However, there
is a danger of continued over-implementation by dutyholders due
to fear of HSE and civil litigation. On occasions independent
consultants have taken advantage of this lack of understanding
to sell health and safety management "solutions" to
small businesses that are not always appropriate rather than focusing
on what is a proportionate response applicable to a particular
6. This potentially places a substantial
cost on business: however we do not believe that diluting legislation
is a suitable response since this merely transfers the cost from
employers to individual employees and to society as a whole. Moreover
the emotional trauma caused by industrial accidents and disease
is such that it is reasonable to err on the side of prevention.
7. The effectiveness of legislation often
is as reliant upon the mechanism for implementation as the drafting
of legislation. In the case of occupational health and safety,
for legislation to be effective, we believe that high-quality
inspection and advice from HSE inspectors and other staff such
as policy advisers and scientists is vital to ensure that employers
and their staff respond appropriately to both the constraints
placed by legislation and to create an effective corporate health
and safety culture that is appropriate to the specific business.
The combined professional judgment of HSE staff, managers with
responsibility for health and safety and employees is key to ensuring
that the best value is obtained from the current legislative framework.
Whilst there is continued scepticism about the value of health
and safety rules, mainly due to often well-intentioned but futile
over-reaction to legislation, there is simply no evidence to suggest
that organisations which skimp on health and safety are more efficient
and profitable than their peers: indeed the bulk of evidence points
to a positive correlation between safety standards and profitability.
8. The regulatory burden on business:
Overall the health and safety regulatory burden on business is
proportionate. The majority of generally applicable health and
safety related regulation in place in the UK is derived from European
directives. In translating these directives into domestic legislation
the UK has opted for goal setting rather than prescriptive legislation.
The regulations are generally couched in terms of: what is suitable
and sufficient; what is appropriate; and what is adequate. The
clearest example is the regulation that most directly requires
administration of health and safety statutory duties, ie regulation
5 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
9. The regulation encourages a proportionate
approach from the regulator. We feel that this reflects the spirit
of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act where duties are defined
as what is reasonably practicable or practicable.
10. EU legislation: We do not believe
that EU legislation is gold-plated as examined by Lord Donaldson
in 2006 and we broadly agree with the conclusions of the 2006
Donaldson Report. However, it is important that the HSE can respond
to concerns from all stakeholders regarding prospective European
legislation that is commonly feared to impose unnecessary duties.
Therefore the HSE needs to develop expertise and relationships
that enable the UK to best shape European health and safety legislation.
This requires the HSE to retain sufficient skilled and experienced
inspectors, scientists and policy experts. Current funding policy
seems designed to prevent this and to increase the costs on business
by not responding fully to proposed EU legislation.
11. Business Guidance: Effective
safety regulation is dependant on two factors:
Dutyholders' acceptance that
they require advice and guidance; and
The authority, accuracy and
availability of that advice and guidance.
12. Currently the HSC/E produces a wide
range of authoritative, internationally respected guidance. These
range from general Approved Codes of Practice, which by their
nature and legal status are not industry or situation specific
through general guidance to some highly specific guidance and
information. Employers and unions place a high value on this advice
as the HSE has traditionally consulted widely on guidance and
employed recognised experts with sufficient credibility with industry.
We are concerned that this position is compromised by funding
constraints as the HSE's wide professional credibility across
occupational health and safety is a major contributor to safety
at work. We emphatically reject Judith Hackett's (Chair of the
HSC) suggestion to the Committee on 28 November that "HSE
can not, clearly, be expert in all of the areas that we regulate":
the HSE should retain sufficient skilled policy and scientific
staff to provide expert advice and guidance across the full range
of occupational health and safety.
13. Our experience of practical enforcement
and advice suggests that employers and unions place a high value
on the advisory role of Inspectors with access to expert specialist
inspectors, policy and scientific advice. This key interface with
the HSE is extremely valuable and effective: employers place a
very high value on the ability of inspectors to offer practical
guidance that simplifies much of the detailed printed advice available.
14. Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate
Homicide Act (2007): The Act does not impose any new duties
upon employers but we believe that it will encourage improvements
amongst better performers due to increased attention of finance
directors, insurers and legal advisers. For the Act to spur improvements
in safety management amongst mediocre and poor performers, expert
advice and robust enforcement will continue to be necessary so
Directors are aware of their duties under the Act. Further cuts
in HSE funding will remove this ability to implement the Act despite
the clear wish of Parliament for Directors to be held more accountable.
Prospect's concern is that a few high-profile offenders will be
targeted and thereafter the legislation will only be used sporadically
15. Voluntary guidance for Directors:
We do not believe that it would be desirable to produce further
general guidance for Directors when there is a lack of consensus
over change except to reinforce the role of employee safety representatives:
these reps are a key element of any successful safety culture
and their greater involvement in safety issues is likely to benefit
society by improving safety performance.
16. However, the best form of advice for
Directors remains the informal enforcement undertaken by inspectors
who have developed the professional credibility and workplace
relationships to provide useful specific advice that is proportionate.
The success of this approach to enforcement is built on two major
principles: firstly, the maintenance of a highly skilled inspectorate
with sufficient policy and scientific support to retain professional
credibility: and secondly the retention of the power of formal
enforcement by the HSE staff providing the advice. Prospect's
experience confirms that physical inspection by inspectors with
a remit and professional expertise to conduct a full inspection
is a vital mechanism for ensuring that Directors and mangers get
the guidance they require to manage health and safety. Funding
cuts would reduce this support available to employers and their
17. Local Authority Planning: Given
that in practice, the HSE is consulted over land use where there
are significant safety issues, the only significant changes required
are: a commitment to consult the HSE over societal risks where
a single incident could injury a large number of people; a firm
commitment to continue to consult the HSE over nuclear installations
and continued funding for the HSE to undertake this valuable role
that does not often have an immediate impact on injury and illness
Section B: Resources
18. The current level of HSE resources is
not sufficient to meet the expectations held by the public and
on occasions by employers, unions and politicians. In the absence
of a full public debate over the appropriate level of occupational
health and safety advice and enforcement, the HSE remains condemned
to reductions in funding to meet overall spending limits which
in the three years of the next Comprehensive Spending Review from
March 2008 establish a 16.8% reduction in funding of the HSE's
parent department, DWP. This reduction would hamper the HSE to
the extent that its and the Government's credibility in maintaining,
let alone improving, health and safety standards would be lost.
19. Despite media myth and hype about an
intrusive HSE, its cost needs to put in context: there are fewer
inspectors employed in Great Britain than there are traffic wardens
in Greater London.
The HSE's budget is lower than that of a medium sized police force
such as Avon and Somerset.
20. Given the substantial financial and
emotional costs of occupational accidents and disease, we believe
that Government should abandon some of its banal deregulatory
rhetoric in favour of assessing the effectiveness of the HSE's
work and the benefits of greater investment in prevention to reduce
those substantial costs. There is clear evidence that shows that
the prevention of unsafe, and often criminal, acts at work has
a far greater financial benefit to society than investment in
mitigating the effects. Evidence suggest that the total cost of
poor occupational health and safety is over £20 billion each
year! Whilst the HSE is not the only mechanism for addressing
this negligence, we believe that there is significant gearing
with a small investment in greater inspection, advice and enforcement
delivering a far more substantial reduction in the costs of accident
21. We believe that the HSE's funding can
be assessed in two ways: the proportion of GDP devoted to health
and safety; and meeting public expectations.
22. Maintaining the proportion of GDP spent
on the HSE would ensure that the cost of the service did not grow
faster than the capacity of the economy to support it. In 1987,
the HSE employed 3,500 staff and spent 0.024% of UK GDP: by 1992
this had increased to 4,500 staff and 0.033% of GDP. By 2007 the
HSE had reduced to fewer than 3,300 staff spending 0.017% if GDP
with further cuts anticipated up to 2011. The effectiveness of
the HSE has mirrored the changes in funding with the greatest
benefits occurring as the staff and budgets increased and the
plateauing of accident rates, with increases in some key sectors
such as construction, occurring as the investment was run down.
Maintaining the proportion of GDP spent on the HSE would imply
at least a return to the 1987 level of 0.024% spend and an increase
in staff numbers to 4,500.
23. Evidence does not suggest that funding
should have been reduced as the need for the HSE disappeared.
Whilst the type of work conducted by the HSE has changed as the
economy has evolved, this has not reduced the need for professional
expert advice and enforcement. Indeed some of the current objectives
such as occupational health and the management of attendance require
even greater input from suitably skilled and experienced inspectors.
24. Alternatively, we could examine the
expectations upon the HSE through the questions set by the Committee
that forms the rest of Section B.
25. The HSE's objectives as the health and
safety regulator and meeting its PSA targets: The HSE clearly
is under-resourced and cannot meet its internal 60-40 split between
preventative and reactive inspection due to a lack of funds. The
inability to achieve internal targets for preventative work threatens
the HSE's overall ability to reduce accident and injury rates
as required by the PSA targets. As this split is deemed necessary
to meet public expectations over occupational health and safety,
we believe that HSE funding should increase to ensure that 60%
of inspection could be preventative.
26. More disturbingly, even though the HSE
has sacrificed some preventative work to respond to incidents,
the HSE is increasingly unable to meet the HSC's criteria for
accident investigation. As a tripartite organisation the HSC acts
on the basis of consensus so in 2004 less stringent criteria for
investigation, that for example exclude amputations of fingertips
above the first knuckle, were introduced with the acceptance of
unions, employers and Government. Since 2004, the number of serious
accidents that the HSE is simply unable to investigate has almost
increased by two-thirds from 188 in 2004-05 to 307 cases in 2006-07.
This high level of non-investigated accidents is due to a lack
27. The HSE is also unable to meet occupational
health targets due to a lack of sufficient skilled staff. The
bizarre run-down of the HSE's occupational health capacity over
15 years when improving occupational health has become a more
important public priority is described in more detail in Section
28. Budget efficiency: Due to the
highly uncertain nature of future public funding it is almost
impossible for the HSE to manage its budgets efficiently. At a
time when the HSE has improved financial performance by shedding
staff, the organisation has generated a surplus in the current
financial year presumably because the HSE fears further substantial
funding cuts from 2008.
29. Like any organisation in the public
or private sector, the HSE continues to seek greater efficiency.
Our fear is that some of the current initiatives adopted by the
HSE simply reduce cost rather than improve efficiency at a time
when the demands upon the HSE are increasing. We also believe
that the PFI arrangements for the Bootle headquarters and the
Health and Safety Laboratory at Buxton are financially inefficient.
30. The current How and Where We Work
programme appears to contemplate cost savings through the accelerated
shift of policy staff out of London, the introduction of hot-desking
in regional offices, a reduction in the number of support staff
and a review of the regional office structure. We are concerned
that the residual London policy presence will be inadequate and
will increase travel costs as policy staff have to travel from
other locations to London for meetings.
31. As a national organisation, the HSE
is required to provide a robust service across Great Britain so
we are opposed to any further diminution of the HSE's regional
office structure since this will simply lead to increased travel,
which reduces the time that inspectors and other specialists spend
on productive work. In addition we are sceptical about the benefits
of hot-desking that appear to sacrifice productivity to reduce
the costs of running the HSE's estate in response to a decline
in Government funding. We fear that the off-site archiving of
records and a reduction in the informal interactions between inspectors
reduce the effectiveness of the HSE.
32. Whilst we recognise that the HSE wishes
to minimise the impact of recent funding cuts on front-line staff,
this is not achieved by simply reducing the number of support
staffing the absence of more efficient ways of providing that
support. The HSE employs policy and support staff to enable inspectors
to make more efficient use of their time: for example asking inspectors
to perform basic administration tasks is a method to make administration
less efficient rather than to increase productivity.
33. Additional investment: The HSE
retains public confidence by addressing the full range of occupational
health and safety issues. Given the impact of injury and disease,
the emphasis should be on increasing preventative work and developing
expertise to deal with new priorities. Given the decline in the
HSE's occupational health capacity, then significant further investment
in this area is required. However, investment in preventative
inspection should recognise that such work is reliant upon high-quality
policy and scientific support.
34. The partnership principles that underlie
the HSC/E suggest that the HSE should have significant autonomy
to pursue issues that are given priority by stakeholders without
significant political interference: in reality occupational health
and safety remains a key objective of Government through the DWP.
Therefore it remains in the public interest for the HSE to respond
to unexpected emergencies such as the Buncefield oil explosion
and the Foot and Mouth outbreak at Pirbright as well as a greater
emphasis on tackling occupational safety issues such as the rise
in construction fatalities. However, given current and future
budgetary constraints we believe that a contingency fund should
be established to enable the HSE to respond promptly to such changes
driven by events outside its control and that this fund should
be supplemented by additional funding when significant additional
resources are required as in the case of the response to the unacceptable
level of construction fatalities.
35. Given the level of political and public
expectation over occupational health and safety, we believe that
an increase in funding back to 0.024% of GDP and an additional
1,000 staff is the minimum level required to match growing expectations
of performance and the increasing complexity of issues faced by
Section C: Inspection, enforcement and prosecutions
36. Evidence from the HSE and elsewhere
shows that enforcement remains the most effective form of intervention
for reducing accident rates. The reduction in the frequency of
inspection correlates closely with the end to a fall in accident
rates and there is no strong evidence to show that another cultural
factor is the cause of this decline in HSE effectiveness.
37. Small and medium enterprises tend to
rely on external interventions to ensure compliance. Although
they recognise that they have a duty to comply with HSE regulations
and guidance, in practice they will normally believe they are
compliant until someone credible, such as the HSE, inspects and
informs them otherwise. We do not believe that any more than a
small minority of employers deliberately breach health and safety
law and the issue is one of finding a form of regulation that
improves knowledge and compliance.
38. We believe that the use of skilled experienced
inspectors with enforcement powers is one of the key strengths
of the British system of regulating health and safety. Naturally
such effectiveness requires efficient policy, scientific and administrative
support. We are extremely sceptical about support from senior
HSE management for the use of intermediaries by the HSE to provide
guidance on criminal law.
39. The use of inspectors with enforcement
powers has considerable credibility with both employers and unions;
and we believe that a policy of using other bodies to provide
advice has led to an unacceptable decline in enforcement in the
past. We believe that the HSE does not fully value the effective
working relationships between inspectors and duty-holders, in
particular a high reliance on inspectors as a source or as a gateway
to advice does not suggest that an organisation does not have
a robust safety culture. Often the credibility of other forms
of intervention relies on an appreciation by an employer that
these supplement rather than substitute for the role of the inspector.
40. Effective inspection and enforcement
also relies on trusting the professional judgment of inspectors.
Under the FIT3 programme the HSE intended to restrict the remit
of inspections to key targets such as slips and trips, working
at height and manual handling and any other issue of obvious concern.
This may have reduced the length of inspections but it could override
the professional judgment of inspectors who use their professional
judgment to consider other issues that are likely to be important
dependent upon the specific circumstances of the site, the organisation
and its staff.
41. Prevention and Enforcement:
It remains difficult to separate issues as the two are intimately
linked. Much enforcement work is actually generated by preventative
activity so we are not convinced that inspectors should concentrate
on either prevention or enforcement. Our support for the 60-40
split between preventative and reactive work is explained in paragraph
25 of this submission.
42. Penalties: Given the relatively
low level of fines for breaches of health and safety legislation
compared to other forms of corporate malpractice such as breaches
of data protection and anti-competitive behaviour, we believe
that the current level of penalties creates the impression that
the Government is less concerned about breaches of health and
safety legislation. We would support a call to increase maximum
fines to a fixed proportion of company turnover to penalise the
rare employer whose unacceptable management of health and safety
harms individuals and society.
43. Crown immunity: Whilst in practice,
most Crown employers take health and safety seriously, there is
no compelling reason why Crown immunity should remain. Indeed
it could give the impression that the Government places a low
priority on health and safety by seeking a wide-ranging exemption
of its own activities from criminal prosecution. We welcome the
removal of crown immunity as defence against corporate manslaughter
and would welcome its total removal but do not see this as a major
priority at present for the HSE.
44. Local Authorities: Whilst there
is some prospect of developing further joint working with local
authorities and improving their involvement in HSE policy, the
scope for joint inspection warrants is limited due to the differences
in skills of local authority enforcement staff, the substantially
different priorities of local government and the severe constraints
on local authority spending. We do not believe that transferring
work to local authorities is a solution to central government
under-resourcing of the HSE.
Section D: Hazardous Occupations
45. Prospect believes that more hazardous
industries such as construction, nuclear, off-shore oil and gas
need a deeper inspection regime which uses professional expertise
to recognise the higher potential level of risk and the risk that
consequences of an incident will be more significant than in other
sectors. However, the use of safety cases runs the risk of reducing
effective practical inspection. Migrant workers pose significant
issues but these are related to their disproportionate employment
profile with significant concentrations in agriculture and construction.
Occupational health is a serious case of failure due to the run-down
of the HSE's capacity to deal with occupational health issues.
46. Construction: The rise in construction
fatalities is a national disgrace. Even with some statistical
adjustment of figures the fact that construction workers are four
times more likely to be killed at work is simply unacceptable.
The evidence suggest that much more work needs to be done on individual
construction sites to improve management leadership, safety knowledge
and compliance with heath and safety regulations. In these circumstances,
a substantial increase in the number of skilled and experienced
construction inspectors is necessary to ensure that safety standards
can be addressed on individual sites. The support of the industry
and the Secretary of State for action is welcome but there is
a fundamental issue of resources as this is one sector where routine
site inspection that addresses the full range of construction
issues is vital.
47. Off-shore work: Whilst the HSE
has developed a series of initiatives with the offshore sector
since the Cullen Report, it is misleading to suggest that here
are no significant issues with offshore safety. Due to the aging
life of offshore assets and the global skills crisis in oil and
gas production, the already technically complex offshore industry
faces a wider set of challenges as high oil prices prolong the
life of existing oil installations. This places a higher premium
on the professional skills of our members
48. Whilst safety cases have considerable
value in preventing a repetition of the design faults that contributed
to the Piper Alpha tragedy, their existence and the high level
of mandatory inspection has reduced the ability of the HSE's Offshore
Directorate (OSD) to undertake other initiatives at a time when
the complement of OSD inspectors has reduced from 200 in 1994
to fewer than 120 today. At current salary levels, OSD could struggle
to maintain staff numbers given that it has an aging workforce.
Given the prospect of a longer life for many offshore assets,
we believe that more inspectors should be employed to make site
inspections to supplement the use of safety cases.
49. Given the severe financial and moral
consequences of a major accident or shut-down due to faulty installations,
the oil industry is prepared to pay for a higher quality of inspection
by making OSD salaries more competitive as the key issue is the
quality of judgments made by inspectors not the frequency of inspection.
50. Chemicals: The Buncefield incident
suggests that the current system of safety regulation could be
improved as the incident could have resulted in a substantial
number of deaths, we would be happy to comment in more detail
once the Buncefield report is released as the collection of evidence
should demonstrate some practical steps to improve the safe regulation
of the chemicals sector which contains some elderly assets.
51. As with offshore oil and gas, we appreciate
the value of "permissioning" regimes where operators
have to assure the HSE and environmental regulators that they
will design out hazards and operate in accordance with their safety
case. Due to financial constraints, the production and approval
of safety cases has reduced the amount of time that the HSE can
devote to site inspection and audit. The Buncefield report should
start a debate on will demonstrate whether this approach is adequate
but we believe that a better balance between safety case permissioning
and site inspection would improve safety performance.
52. Migrant Workers: It is unclear
whether or not migrant workers are more exposed to the risk of
occupational accidents, but our belief is that this is likely.
Moreover, we believe that HSE does not do enough to protect migrant
workers from health and safety risks as they are more likely to
work in areas of the economy such as agriculture and construction
where inspection is poor even before the specific issues raised
by the different training experiences, diverse safety cultures
and potential problems with communication that affect migrant
workers are considered.
53. Resource constraints have affected the
time that inspectors can devote to agriculture and construction:
given the relative lack of political lobbying power of their workforces,
these sectors have been neglected in favour of other priorities.
The impact has been a deterioration in the time spent on inspection:
whilst working with major employers in both sectors has some benefits,
the large extent of sub-contracting means that effective site
inspection is especially important and this has suffered due to
financial pressure on the HSE.
54. Occupational Health: Occupational
ill-health has a huge impact on the UK economy. The Labour Force
Survey 2006-07 suggests that around 2.2 million people suffered
from ill health that they thought was work-related, of which 646,000
were new cases in the preceding 12 months. Lack of HSE resources
restricts the prevention of ill health, and there is very poor
enforcement of legal provisions relating to ill health. Prosecutions
for causing ill health in the workplace are very rare, if they
get investigated at all.
55. When occupational health provides the
dual benefit of individual recovery and the prevention of illness
for colleagues, it is strange that it is so neglected. We lag
far behind our European partners on occupational health provision:
for example, HSE commissioned research
showed that only 3% of UK companies provided reasonable levels
of occupational health support. Decent provision of expertise
in occupational health within the HSE is vital if Britain's position
as the poor man of Europe is to change. There are now only around
five (full-time equivalent) occupational physicians in HSE, and
around 20 occupational health inspectors down from around 60 of
each in the early 1990s. HSE's Corporate Medical Unit (CMU) is
so depleted that it is no longer able to provide basic cover on
occupational health advice and prevention, nor provide the leadership
role it once did to the occupational health community in Great
Britain. This decline in HSE's medical expertise presents a serious
risk to Government credibility on preventing occupational ill
56. Occupational health professionals employed
within the Health and Safety Executive are needed to oversee the
active monitoring and reviewing of occupational ill health with
the aim of prevention, of identifying weaknesses in employer provision,
and to define and maintain standards. HSE's occupational health
physicians and inspectors have much needed skills, combining expertise
in occupational medicine with a detailed understanding and experience
of health and safety law.
57. Prospect supports the call for a greater
focus on rehabilitation as a means by which employers can retain
the expertise and skills of staff who become ill or injured during
their working life, but advises caution about its application.
However, the focus on rehabilitation does not detract from prevention.
Also the evidence for the effectiveness of resources spent on
rehabilitation is somewhat sketchy. DWP Research concluded in
2005 Project RR339 and 342, The Job Retention and Rehabilitation
Pilot, showed limited impact of rehabilitation on return to
work. The review suggested (which is supported by anecdotal evidence
from our members) that the strongest factor in determining length
of absence is personal motivation to return to work: this impression
is confirmed by the experience of our members.
Section E: Culture and the role of Government
58. One of the most disappointing trends
in public life has been an increased wish by Government to override
the professional judgment of health and safety at the same time
as decrying the volume of health and safety regulation as sign
of excessive interference in business and commerce. All the evidence
suggests that profitability and good safety performance actually
work hand in hand.
59. Prospect would wish to see a more intelligent
approach to HSE regulation based on the following four principles:
the recognition that the principle
of proportionate action based on the specific circumstances of
each employer delivers an effective system of regulation;
recognition of the value of
partnership between the HSE, employers and unions as good practice
is dependent upon changing culture;
respect for the professional
judgment of inspectors, policy advisers and scientists rather
than criticising the HSE simultaneously for not taking enough
action to enforce safety standards and for heavy-handed regulation;
55 MHSW 1999 regulation 5(1) "Every employer shall
make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate,
having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of
his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control,
monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures." Back
In the Field Operations Directorate for the whole of Great Britain
there are around 500 to cover all the inspections, investigations
and prosecutions for all manufacturing (except chemicals manufacturing),
construction, the health services, education, all local authority
activities, Govt departments and agencies, fire and police services,
the defence industry and MOD, agriculture, fairgrounds, domestic
gas safety, utilities, ports and docks, and others. There are
around 80 chemical industries inspectors, 120 in offshore safety,
and there are in addition around 180 operational specialist inspectors
and engineers. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate is 35 inspectors
short of numbers needed to meet current inspection requirements
and would be unable to respond properly to any new build programme.
There are more traffic wardens in London than there are inspectors
in the whole of HSE's Field Operations Directorate. Back
Survey of Use of Occupational Health Support, CRR 445/2002, HSE