The U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive is making inspections in high-risk industries a priority for 2019, along with the completion times of investigations and subsequent decisions, according to the body’s 2018-19 business plan.
The recently released document provides an overview of what the HSE says it has accomplished in the 2018 and a full list of where it intends to focus its energies in the coming year.
The HSE will carry out 20,000 proactive inspections and increase its use of campaigns that focus this work on “specific issues and activities found in high-risk industries.” This will include a sustained focus on health risks associated with occupational lung disease (OLD) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
As part of this targeted effort, the HSE will deliver five major inspection campaigns, each with at least 500 inspections in the following sectors: metal fabrication; agriculture; waste and recycling; food manufacturing; construction refurbishment (one that will be national and two that will be London-specific), and one national campaign focused on construction health risk. The HSE will also complete a targeted series of inspections of premises using ionizing radiation. The inspections will assess compliance with the U.K.’s Basic Safety Standards Directive.
“It’s quite clear that while there is going to be an increase in focused regulatory inspections from the HSE,” observed Intelex Health and Safety Practice Lead Scott Gaddis. “The main objective is to leverage accountability of industry across Great Britain to drive a reflective review of safety management systems and a proactive step forward in building effective strategies and plans that protect workers.”
The HSE’s objectives for investigation completion times include a goal of 80 percent of fatal investigations being completed within 12 months of the HSE assuming primacy. For non-fatal investigations, the goal is to have 90 percent of them completed within 12 months of the incident taking place.
As part of its objective to strengthening leadership and worker engagement, HSE says it will aim to lead the development of emergency planning in the onshore oil and gas sector by delivering an onshore sector emergency exercise.
A modernization of its services, particularly on the digital delivery front, is also on tap for the HSE in the coming year. According to the business plan, this work will make its services “user-focused and accessible,” and allow people to transact with the organization online. Specifically, the services enhancements include:
- The creation of a single, digitally enabled, licensing and permissioning function for HSE
- Creation of an HSE contact center
- Implementation of new ways of working for asbestos licensing, including the ability to apply for licenses and renewals online
- Introduction of a simplified and improved way for people to register concerns and advice requests online.
Additionally, the agency says it will actively engage with and support ongoing inquiries into the tragic Grenfell Tower fire that occurred in June 2017 “and be ready to make changes if required in response to findings.”
As a health and safety leader who has had global responsibilities for most of his career, Gaddis said he appreciated HSE’s focus on driving operational risks from the workplace.
“Their message is simple and clear and is the foundation of their 2018-19 business plan: Lead and engage with others to improve workplace health and safety; provide an effective regulatory framework; secure effective management and control of risk and reduce the likelihood of low-frequency, high-impact catastrophic incidents. As a practitioner, I appreciate their concerted efforts in helping the safety practitioner protect the workplace.”