Loftstedt, what it means for the people who enforce the law

Löfstedt: What it Means for
the People who Enforce the
James Taylor, Vice Chair, Prospect HSE
Tel: 07879 661820
Prospect in HSE
Represents inspectors, scientists,
specialists in many disciplines
~1,400 members of Prospect
HSE staff are also represented by our
colleagues in PCS with whom we work
What does the
Government Say?
PM, Evening Standard Jan 2012
– ……..and there is something else we are
doing: waging war against the excessive
health and safety culture that has
become an albatross around the neck of
British businesses.
– ………so one of the Coalition’s New Year
resolutions is this: kill off health and
safety culture for good. ………
….. But killing off the health and safety nonsense
for good is not something government can do
alone. It needs a change in the national mindset.
We need to realise, collectively, that we cannot
eliminate risk and that some accidents are
inevitable. We need to take responsibility for our
actions and rely on common sense rather than
procedure . Above all, we need to give British
businesses the freedom and discretion they need to
grow, create jobs and drive our economy forward…
Or in other words…
Allow employers to kill, injure and
maim their employees and put
members of the public at significant
risk in the pursuit of profit.
Main Conclusions
– health and safety regulations are broadly
fit for purpose
– regulatory requirements are
misunderstood and applied
Streamline the body of regulation through
 Re-direct enforcement activity towards
businesses where there is the greatest risk of
injury or ill health;
 Re-balance the civil justice system by
clarifying the status of pre-action protocols
and reviewing strict liability provisions
Coalition government is not going to let
independent reviews they commissioned
(Lord Young and Löfstedt) plus the ‘Red
Tape Challenge’ get in the way of their
political agenda!
A War on Health and Safety!
Profits before the health and safety of the
What has happened in the
35% cut in budget
100s of jobs lost, more cuts likely
Much less inspection
– 11,000 less inspections per annum
Whole sectors ‘exempt’ from proactive
– health, education, prisons and emergency
– public transport including buses and airports;
– the post office and parcels delivery;
– agriculture, docks, electricity generation and
– manufacturing industries including light
engineering, plastics and rubber, printing,
electrical engineering
Fee for Intervention
– Material breach of H+S law = £charge
– But NOT for LA enforced premises!
NB: HSE does not make law –
government does!
HSE Infoline
– Until last September anyone could ring up the
HSE Infoline for advice and guidance and
thousands did – every week.
– Infoline is now closed. In order to prevent
concerned people finding other numbers to ring,
a team was set up to remove all phone numbers
from the HSE website
– Due to the large number of complaints there is
now a phone number you can ring but the small
team on the receiving end of calls is
Government neglect?
Some more examples
Employment Medical Advisory Service
– 1990s: over 50 occupational health doctors in
– Today: 4!
Working Time Regulations
– One Working Time Officer based in Bedford and
covers North London, Hertfordshire,
Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire,
Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk
– HSE’s radiation team consists of only 6 Specialist
Inspectors for all hospitals, dentists, vets,
airports, docks, industrial radiographers and all
other industry (except nuclear)
– Equates to approximately one inspector per
20,000 employers
– But non-nuclear occupational exposure to
radiation causes 90-280 deaths per year!
The Human Cost
– 3-4 people killed at work every week (not
including those killed whilst driving at
– Over 1 million people suffering work
related ill health
– 1000s dying every year from occupational
cancers and other diseases.
HSE Prospect Believes
Löfstedt gave the coalition the ‘wrong’
Löfstedt has had little positive effect on the
HSE is in a fight for survival
Good health and safety is seen by the
coalition as a burden on business and a
restriction on growth
Poor health and safety results in misery for
1000s and the death of 100s every year
Many employers only comply with health
and safety law because they fear an
– Fewer inspections means less compliance and
more unnecessary deaths, injuries and ill health.
FFI will change the relationship between
HSE and employers
– It is unfair, won’t work and will transfer money
from health and safety to government coffers.