Memorandum submitted by the Department
for Work and Pensions, November 2007
1. The Health and Safety HSC (the "HSC")
and the Health and Safety Executive (the "HSE") were
established in 1974 by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (HSWA)
as two separate legal entities. The HSC and HSE are statutory
non-departmental public bodies, performing their functions on
behalf of the Crown. Responsibility for the HSC and HSE transferred
to the Department for Work and Pensions in July 2002.
2. HSWA sets out the general duties that
employers have towards employees and members of the public, those
that employees have to themselves and to each other, and the duties
of the self-employed. A fundamental principle of the legal framework
is that the responsibility for health and safety lies with those
who own and manage workplaces. They must assess the risks attached
to their activity and take proportionate action.
3. The HSE advises and assists the HSC.
It has a statutory responsibility for the enforcement of HSWA
and other relevant statutory provisions in Great Britain. It also
proposes new laws and standards, conducts and sponsors research,
promotes training and provides information and advice.
4. The achievements of the HSC and the HSE
over the last 33 years, working closely with Local Authorities
(LA), have been substantial. Great Britain has one of the best
safety records in the European Union and has seen a reduction
in work-related ill health and injury from 40 million days lost
per year in 2000-02 to 36 million in 2006-07. In 1974 there were
651 fatal injuries to employees in production and some service
industries. The comparable figure for 2006-07 is 241, a reduction
of nearly two-thirds on the number of fatalities that took place
in 1974. Although compositional changes in the workforce can explain
some of the improvement, the regulatory regime, proposed by the
HSC and enforced by the HSE and local authorities, has been a
5. The Government, concerned by a slowing
rate of improvement in health and safety in the workplace during
the 1990s, published Revitalising Health and Safety (RHS) in 2000
setting out priorities and actions considered vital to the achievement
of challenging goals for the reduction in the incidence of injury
and ill health and days lost in the workplace. RHS set bold targets
for work-related ill-health and injury improvements with the goal,
for 2010, of reducing:
a. The rate of fatalities and major injuries
b. The incidence of work- related ill health
c. The number of working days lost from work-related
injury and ill health by 30%.
6. HSE has agreed with Government separate
targets for the major hazard industries, that is, onshore hazards,
offshore hazards and the nuclear industry. These are reductions
in the number of:
a. events reported by licence holders, which
HSE's Nuclear Directorate judges as having the potential to challenge
a nuclear safety system, by 7.5% based on the 2001-02 baseline;
b. major and significant hydrocarbon releases
in the offshore oil and gas sector by 45%, based on the 2001-02
c. relevant reportable dangerous occurrences
in the onshore sector by 15% based on the 2001-02 baseline.
7. The RHS and Major Hazards targets, aspirational
by their nature, were formulated with the intention of helping
to drive improved health and safety outcomes and, for the major
hazards industries, provide a clearer focus on process safety.
HSE can not achieve these targets on its own. Close partnership
working between HSE, LAs and a wide range of stakeholders is essential
to achieve these targets and sustain the desired improvements.
8. The HSC and HSE recognised that RHS should
be supplemented by a strategy setting out the direction that would
need to be followed by the Commission, the HSE and stakeholders,
in order to achieve the desired improvements to health and safety.
HSC's Strategy for workplace health and safety in Great Britain
to 2010 and beyond, launched in February 2004, is aimed at helping
achieve targets. It brings a clearer focus on the overall direction
and gives priorities for the health and safety system as a whole.
9. The Strategy is designed to promote the
vision with health and safety as a cornerstone of a civilised
society and to contribute towards the goal of Great Britain having
a record of workplace health and safety that leads the world.
The Strategy is underpinned by four key themes to guide HSC/E:
i. Developing closer partnerships.
ii. Helping people benefit from effective
health and safety management and a sensible health and safety
iii. Focusing on the core business and the
right interventions where HSE and Local Authorities are best placed
to reduce workplace injury and ill health.
iv. Communicating the vision.
10. The best and most effective health and
safety management systems are those led with commitment from the
top. HSC has worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders
to focus attention on the vital contribution that director leadership
plays in promoting an effective health and safety culture which,
in turn, delivers good health and safety performance. Guidance
published jointly by the IoD and HSC in October 2007, "Leading
health and safety at work", sets out an agenda for effective
leadership and provides practical advice for directors on how
to plan, deliver, monitor and review health and safety in the
11. HSE has been asked to cover the following
issues in the Memorandum:
a. Progress against the PSA Targets
d. How and Where We Work Project
e. Enforcement and Inspection
f. Health and safety in the Construction
g. Proposed merger of the HSC and the HSE
and planned new governance arrangements
THE PSA TARGETS
12. These are the latest statistics and
analysis on work related ill-health and workplace injury in Great
Britain. More detailed information is available on HSE's website
at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics. In 2006-07:
241 workers were killed.
2.2 million people were suffering
from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their
current or past work.
36 million days were lost due to
work-related ill-health and workplace injury (30 million and six
WORK-RELATED HEALTH AND SAFETY STATISTICS2006-07
13. The outturn for 2006-07 measured against
HSE's Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets set out in Table
|Occupational health and safety indicators
||Baseline (2004-05)||Outturn (2006-07)
||PSA Target (2007-08) |
|The incidence rate of fatal and major injury per 100,000 workers
|The incidence rate of work-related ill health per 100,000 workers
|The number of working days lost from work-related injury and ill health per worker
2 Subject to 95% confidence intervalrange of possibilities
is 4.0% to 23.0%
3 Subject to 95% confidence intervalrange of possibilities
is ¸10.9% to 13.1%
14. For the period from 2004-05 to 2007-08, HSE's PSA
targets, agreed in 2004-05, are for reductions of 3%, 6% and 9%
for fatal and major injuries, work-related ill health and working
days lost measured against the 2004-05 baseline. The assessment
for 2005-06 suggested that injuries were not on track, whilst
ill health was on track, and days lost was probably on track.
On the basis of 2006-07 statistics that showed rises in both cases
of ill-health and days lost, HSE is on track to meet the fatal
and major injuries target, no longer on track to meet the three
year ill health target, and not on track to meet the days lost
per worker targets. Although disappointing, the latest assessment
does not mean we will not achieve the 2010 targets. To achieve
these targets however, will require continued productive and focused
collaborative working between HSE, LA and other stakeholder partners
through a range of interventions.
15. In 2006-07, there was a sudden rise in the incidence
(new cases) of self-reported work-related ill health, reversing
the previous downward trend, and taking the level back to a similar
order to that in 2001-02. Based on initial investigations, this
recent increase appears not to be due to changes in the design
of the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The results on ill health and
days lost are very disappointing. We are doing more work to investigate
16. Performance of the major hazards sub-targets are
broadly on track but showing slippage due to a levelling of the
offshore indicator over the last two years. Table 2 reports the
performance position at the end of the second quarter, 2007-08.
The indicators show:
i. Precursor events in the nuclear industry are ahead
of profile to deliver the sub-target.
ii. Precursor events in the offshore sector are under
considerable pressure to deliver the sub-target, which is probably
linked to increasing offshore activity on ageing infrastructure.
iii. Precursor events in the onshore chemicals sector
are ahead of profile to achieve the sub-target.
MAJOR HAZARDS SUB-TARGETS
||Outturn to Q2, 2007-08||Target For End 2007-08
|7.5% reduction in the number of events reported by licence holders, which HSE's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate judges as having the potential to challenge a nuclear safety system
|45% reduction in the number of major and significant hydrocarbon releases in the offshore oil and gas sector
|15% reduction in the number of relevant RIDDOR reportable dangerous occurrences in the onshore sector
17. HSE's Memorandum to the Work and Pensions Committee
in May 2006 confirmed that HSC/E faced many demands on its resources.
Since then, these demands on and for HSC/E's expertise have, if
anything, increased as, for example:
a. activity rates in some parts of the construction industry
have risen markedly;
b. incidents such as at Buncefield and Texas City in the
chemical industry have placed significant, unforeseen pressures
c. increases in the number of migrant workers and contractorisation
in the profile of the workforce generally has continued; and
d. public safety and other issues like hospital-acquired
infections, work-related Road Traffic Accidents and the investigation
into the potential breach of biosecurity at the Pirbright site.
18. HSC's Strategy is kept under review in order to identify
any emerging issues that will help it to steer HSE's priorities.
HSE then ensures its resources are deployed effectively to meet
its responsibilities. HSE's approach is to target priority risks
and sectors, and apply an appropriate mix of intervention and
influencing techniques including inspection, enforcement action,
communication, advice and support. HSC has outlined its approach
to the regulatory methods it will use in its publication "Sensible
health and safety at work". The main features of the approach
to be followed both by HSE and Local Authorities include:
a. Concentrating on priorities, risk and poor performance.
b. Choosing intervention methods.
c. Balancing preventative work with investigation.
e. Engaging with the workforce.
f. Stimulating and recognising good performance.
Finance and Staffing
19. HSE's spend and income for the years 2003-04 to the
present are set out in Table 3. HSC/E's funding is provided predominantly
by grant from DWP. The settlement for the three years from 2005-06
was slightly better than flat in cash terms following SR04 because
HSE had previously, intentionally, built up a reserve and rolled
forward the accumulated cash to boost activity. Over the SR2004
period, £17 million of this money is being used to fund the
Workplace Health Connect (WHC) pathfinder projects, which provide
advice to SMEs on improving health and safety in their workplaces.
HSE RESOURCES, 2003/042007/08
|HSE (excl HSL)||2003-04 Outturn £m
||2004-05 Outturn £m||2005-06 Outturn £m
||2006-07 Outturn £m ||2007-08 Forecast £m
Figures have been adjusted to exclude Rail work which transferred
to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) on 1 April 2006.
Employers' superannuation increased by £5.4 million pa from
1 April 2005
20. The chart below shows that staff and staff related
expenditure account for the major part of HSE's administration
21. Table 4 below shows that over the period 1 April
2003 to 1 October 2007, taking account of the transfer to ORR,
HSE's staff numbers fell by 502 full time equivalent (FTE) posts
(13%). Over the period covered by SR2002, staff numbers fell by
259 posts (6%). After an increase of 88 posts in 2005-06 as HSE
boosted activity, it then reined backed to live within its overall,
three-year SR2004 settlement. HSE's total staffing reduced by
just under 10% in the 18 months from 1 April 2006 to 1 October
2007 but consistent with HSE's aim to minimise the impact on delivery,
the number of inspectors fell by approximately 2% over the same
period. Falling staff numbers are a virtually inevitable consequence
of settlements at or around flat cash and cumulative inflation.
22. HSC/E is still discussing its settlement with DWP
for the period 2008-09 to 2010-11 as part of SR2007.
TOTAL HSE STAFF IN POST: 2003-07
a) The figures are for full time equivalents
and include the Health and Safety Laboratory and agency staff.
The figures for 1.4.20021.4.2007 match the staffing data
in the respective HSC Annual Reports.
b) The shaded column is for comparison and include
staff that transferred to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR)
c) The duplicate column for 1.04.2006 excludes
staff that transferred to ORR.
d) The figures at 1.10.07 include staff from
the Office for Civil Nuclear Safety and the UK Safeguards Office
that transferred from DTI to HSE.
23. The HSE has to make the best use of
the resources it has available to it. This includes ensuring as
much resource as possible goes to improving health and safety
outcomes. In 2006 the HSE initiated the How and Where We Work
(HWWW) review to make its working arrangements more effective,
while reducing its estates costs and improving the standard of
its poorer accommodation. HSE's review examined the financial
and business case for a move from headquarters split between London
and Bootle to a single headquarters in Bootle and the measures
necessary to secure greater efficiencies in its field estate while
maintaining a nationwide network of offices.
24. The estate, comprising 31 offices, is
a significant and rising component of HSE's cost base. This places
real pressure on resources. In 2006-07 the estate accounted for
some £27 million (excluding depreciation and the cost of
capital) or about 10% of total spend. Inflation will increase
estate costs and if funding reduces the proportion of resource
going on accommodation would increase sharply leaving less for
health and safety interventions. Moreover many offices are underused
now and do not represent the best use of HSE's resources.
25. On 6 November 2007 HSC endorsed the
HSE Board's decision to end its headquarters split between London
and Bootle and have a single headquarters in Bootle. The decision
followed careful consideration of the evidence from the HWWW review,
including a very strong business case, and will: create a single
HQ in Bootle in HSE's new PFI building which consolidates much
of HSE's north west estate and which has spare capacity; retain
a small non-operational presence in London for work which requires
essential and frequent face-to-face contact with key London stakeholders,
along with the London operational field force and HSE's Construction
26. This places just over 300 or so posts
(out of a total organisational head count of some 3,500) potentially
in scope for relocation from London.
27. The costs and benefits have been subject
to a 10 year investment appraisal and the net results (discounted)
is a gain of between £31 million and £43 million.
28. In 2006-07, the Health and Safety Statistics
indicate that the GB trend was not on track to meet the PSA targets
for reducing incidence rates of ill health and working days lost.
This reverses a previous three year downward trend. Ill-health
continues to be the major cause of working days lost, accounting
for about 30 million days a year, and in the light of the disappointing
figures for 2006-07 more needs to be done to tackle this important
29. As the Memorandum of Evidence submitted
to the Committee in May 2006 noted, health has always been harder
to tackle than safety since the cause and effect are often not
clearly linked. The view of occupational health has now widened
from exposure to hazardous materials and agents (for example,
asbestos related and chemical carcinogens) to cover common health
problems such as depression and backache.
30. As well as tackling the two main causes
of work-related ill-health, stress and musculoskeletal disorders,
the HSE has been working with the Department for Work and Pensions
(DWP), Department of Health (DH) and the health departments in
the Scottish and Welsh Assembly Governments to implement the Health
Work and Well-being strategy (HWWB). HWWB focuses on the health
of the working age population and in particular on:
Improving the general health of the
working age population.
Creating healthier workplaces and
preventing people from becoming ill or being injured as a result
of their work and maximising the opportunity that workplaces provide
to help people make healthy lifestyle choices.
Maximising the opportunity that workplaces
provide to help people make healthier lifestyle choices.
Encouraging the provision of effective
rehabilitation and return to work support.
31. Accordingly, HSE's current priorities
in occupational health in support of HWWB include:
a. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
b. Stress with particular reference to the
c. Reducing sickness absence with particular
reference to the public sector.
d. Reducing work-related disease including
32. We know from various surveys that sickness
absence tends to be higher in larger organisations. Most public
sector bodies fall in to that category. And demographics play
a partolder workers, part time workers and women workers
all tend to have more absence that the rest of the population
and these groups make up a higher proportion of the public sector
workforce. Understanding the factors at work is an important element
in devising the right management solutions. The Civil Service
Permanent Secretaries have agreed to take action to tackle this
and committed their departments to report on a range of well-being
measures every quarter.
33. The annual number of mesothelioma deaths
has risen more than 10-fold since the late 1960s with 2,037 deaths
in 2005. The most recent projections suggest a peak in annual
deaths somewhere between current levels and 2,450 per year some
time between 2011 and 2015. There are estimated 4,000 deaths each
year caused by asbestos. There are also over 100 deaths per year
due to asbestosisa chronic scarring of the lung tissue
caused by exposure to asbestos.
34. HSE's Disease Reduction Programme is
contributing towards the target for work-related ill-health by
reducing the incidence of skin disease and occupational asthma.
Additionally the programme aims to make a real impact on the risk
factors associated with the development of long latency diseases,
specifically work-related cancer (both asbestos-related and that
caused by other chemical carcinogens) and long latency respiratory
diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
35. Not all work-related ill health can
be prevented; this is particularly true for stress and MSDs. Those
who have become ill through their work need early effective interventions
to help them return to work. Support is also important where people
have existing health conditions that have the potential to affect
their ability to work. They need support and possible adaptations
and any risk assessment need to take into account their ability.
36. There is a good business case for getting
experienced staff back to work as soon as possible, however they
acquired their injury/ill health. When people have been off sick
for more than six weeks, almost one in five will stay off sick
and eventually leave work.
37. The HSE can use a range of tools (prosecuting,
issuing prohibition and improvement notices, as well as giving
information and advice) to seek compliance with the law. These
give us what we need to ensure proportionate action. The proportionate
use of enforcement underpins and amplifies the HSE's other activities
to deliver sustainable, long-term reduction in occupational injury
and ill health.
ENFORCEMENT FIGURES FOR 2006-07 (PROVISIONAL)
AND FOUR PRECEDING YEARS
|(Increase on 2005-06)||(+8%)
Note: 2006-07 provisional figures expected to increase upon
Investigation policy and criteria
38. HSE's investigative and enforcement work is carried
out in conformity with policies and criteria agreed with the HSC
a. HSC's Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS); and
b. HSC's Incident Selection Criteria.
39. The criteria the HSE uses in deciding which incidents
are investigated are published in the Commission's Incident Selection
Criteria (ISC)see www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/incidselcrits.pdf.
The HSE investigates around 94% of reported incidents meeting
the Commission's selection criteria.
40. A number of measures have been instituted by HSE
in the light of findings from an audit it commissioned to examine
the scope for improved enforcement decision making. HSE has communicated
clearer expectations for the use of enforcement to deliver strategic
aims; and senior managers have taken action to reinforce the principles
of the EPS when making enforcement decisions.
Prosecutions following fatal accidents
41. In addition, HSE's prosecution decisions following
fatal accidents are assessed in the circumstances of each individual
case and in accordance with the published criteria in the Code
for Crown Prosecutors in England and Wales. Decisions in respect
of fatal accident investigations in Scotland are made by the Procurator
Balance of proactive to reactive work
42. HSE's goal is to see resources directed to proactive
workpreventing harm in the first place is better than reacting
afterwards. HSE's aspiration is to maintain a 60-40 ratio in our
proactive:reactive caseload, as endorsed by the Commission. The
balance of the proactive:reactive caseload was 65-35 in 2005-06
and 51-49 in 2006-07.
43. Ministers, HSC and HSE have long maintained that,
in general, fines for health and safety offences are too low a
point made on a number of occasions by HSC/E and supported by
the Hampton and Macrory Reviews. The Government remains committed
to raising maximum health and safety penalties when there is a
legislative opportunity and as Parliamentary time allows in line
with the long-standing commitment made in the Revitalising Health
and Safety Strategy statement in June 2000.
44. In 2005-06, the average penalty per conviction, excluding
railways, chemical, mining and offshore industries, was £29,997
but excluding exceptional fines of £100,000 or more, the
average falls to £6,219.
45. The goal of HSE's Construction programme is to work
effectively with key stakeholders to improve health and safety
standards. This goal presents particular challenges, not least
of which is tackling the high fatal accident rate in the industry.
At over four times the all-industry average, it results in the
largest number of fatalities to workers of any industry sector
in the UK economy. The fatal accident figures for 2006-07 show
a rise from 60-77; an increase of 28% over the exceptionally low
figure in 2005-06.
46. However, these figures need to be viewed against
a backdrop of a buoyant construction industry, where in some sectors
there has been considerable increased activity over a number of
years, in particular the housing sector, where housing output
has increased by 97% between 2001 and 2005. The majority of the
increase in fatal accidents in 2006-07 occurred in the house building
and domestic refurbishment sectors, areas in which the HSE has
already redoubled its efforts. The trend for fatal accident and
major injury rates over the longer term, however, remains downwards.
47. Recent initiatives include:
a. The successful Delivery of the Construction (Design
and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM) which came into force on
6 April 2007. CDM is about focusing attention on effective planning
and management of construction projects, from design concept onwards,
thereby reducing the risk of harm to those that have to build,
use and maintain structures.
b. The Secretary of State's September 2007 Construction
Forum aimed at reversing the rise in fatal accidents in the house
building and domestic refurbishment sectors which led to the agreement
of a "Framework for Action". The HSE will be working
closely with the Strategic Forum for Construction in monitoring
progress against the actions agreed by the industry.
c. Major inspection and enforcement initiatives such as
those concentrating on refurbishment and roof work. We intend
to repeat such high profile initiatives in February 2008.
d. The publication of a new Worker Engagement Tool on
e. Delivery of a range of activities aimed at SMEs, including
the delivery of e-bulletins targeted at specific sectors within
the construction industry.
f. Continued development of a comprehensive web-based
tool on occupational health, "Construction Occupational Health
Management Essentials", due to be launched before the end
HSE's Construction Priorities
48. In addition to the above, the Construction Programme
is developing a number of cross-cutting projects to reach specific
b. Work with local authorities in their role as important
construction clients, employers and enforcers of health and safety,
building and planning regulations and trading standards legislation.
c. SMEs: To develop a strategy for influencing and working
with SMEs and small construction sites.
d. Major Accident Potential: Work to look at managing
the risk of multi-fatality incidents, including building and scaffold
collapses, tunnelling etc.
f. High Impact Interventions: This work will review how
and what interventions are carried out with major projects and
49. The HSE's Olympic Games Co-ordinating Group oversees
our contribution to delivering safe and successful games. Its
principal aims are to ensure that the HSE's approach is coherent
and consistent and in accordance with best regulatory practice
and to ensure that all opportunities for improving health and
safety in construction arising from this flagship project are
HSC AND THE
HSE AND THE
50. In December 2006 HSC published a consultation document
seeking views on merging HSC and HSE into a single health and
safety body. HSC and HSE made clear at that time that there were
powerful and persuasive arguments for fundamental change, including
the creation of a unitary governing body, and the benefits that
would derive from modernising the governance arrangements to conform
to current best practice applicable to public bodies.
51. The aim of the merger and associated changes is to
create a new unitary body to present a strong, clear and accountable
external face, and which can internally provide better challenge
and support for the HSE team. In so doing key features of the
current system to which stakeholders attach great importance will
be retained: HSC/E independence, the strong employer/employee
input, HSC/E's close partnership with local authorities, and duly
authorised officials continuing to take enforcement decisions.
52. The positive response from the majority of stakeholders
to that consultation led HSC to continue down the merger road.
In May 2007 the HSC, having confirmed its intention to take the
merger forward, agreed to invite the Minister (Lords), Department
for Work and Pensions, to conduct a further consultation exercise
to comply with the procedures required by the Legislative and
Regulatory Reform Act 2006 (LRRA). The specific purpose of this
second consultation is to ensure that stakeholders agree that
the various rights and protections set out in the LRRA are being
respected. This course of action was agreed by the HSC and by
the Minister, and the consultative document was duly developed
jointly with DWP and published by Lord McKenzie on 8 August 2007.
The closing date for responses was 31 October 2007. Ministers
are currently considering 26 responses that have been received.
53. Subject to Ministers' consideration, the next stage
will be to table the legislative Reform Order which would be subject
to the scrutiny arrangements set out in the LRRA. With Parliamentary
approval, the changes will come into effect in spring next year,
thereby strengthening the accountability and focus of the present
system, provide a better and comprehensible service to stakeholders
and enhance health and safety outcomes all round.
This includes two fines of £400,000; two fines of £360,000;
one fine of £250,000; one fine of £200,000; one fine
of £180,000; one fine of £150,000; four fines of £100,000.
The average fine without these convictions would be £6,219. Back