HSE amends health and safety regulations

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that as of today (1 October), workplace legislation has been 'simplified' to ‘help businesses more easily comply with the law’.

The changes follow a review of health and safety legislation by Professor Ragnar Löfstedt. Essentially, the reporting of workplace injuries has been simplified and greater flexibility has been introduced for managing the provision of first aid training.

‘Common sense . . . while maintaining standards’

Primarily, the First Aid Regulation (1981) has been amended in order to remove the requirement for HSE approval of first aid training and qualifications. This follows two public consultations that took place between 22 October and 3 December 2012 and 25 March and 3 May 2013.

The amendment forms part of an effort to ‘put the common sense back into health and safety, while maintaining standards’. Additionally, it aims to further reduce the administrative burden on businesses across all sectors and sizes.

Secondly, alterations have been made to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR, 1995) to ‘clarify and simplify the reporting requirements, while ensuring that the data collected gives an accurate and useful picture of workplace incidents’. The changes to RIDDOR were subject to a public consultation that took place between 2 August and 28 October 2012.

The main changes are:

  • the classification of 'major injuries' to workers has been replaced with a shorter list of 'specified injuries';
  • the existing schedule detailing 47 types of industrial disease has been replaced with eight categories of reportable work-related illness; and
  • fewer types of 'dangerous occurrence' will now require reporting.

The alterations do not affect how an incident at work is reported and the criteria that determine whether an incident should be investigated.

Health and Safety in the waste sector

The HSE recently branded the waste and recycling sector’s safety performance as ‘poor’ after finding that the number of fatalities in the sector is not only rising, but is also 16 times higher than the national average.

According to figures released in July, ten workers and three members of the public were fatally injured in 2012/13, nearly double the figure for the previous year.

In order to crack down on the number of incidents occurring in the waste sector, HSE has released a ‘Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) blueprint 2013-15’, providing 24 ‘immediate action points’ in order to ensure clearer training and safer workplaces.

Read more about safety at waste transfer sites.