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Health & Safety

Lofstedt – Chapter 5, Apply Within

Professor Lofstedt now turns to the regulations themselves. The focus of attention is those regulations that everyone had already suspected as redundant. They add little, if anything.

The requirement to notify HSE if you have a Conventional Tower Crane, is one such case (not the small plastic remote control toy ones – it’s the real ones we want). I assume by painting it in psychedelic colours, you could get away with not having to register it (because it then could be argued that it is “unconventional”?). Even though they only came in around 2010 (amended in the same year), Loftstedt thinks that they should now go.

A similar point is made with the first aid regulations. Specifically, HSE approval of training for first-aiders. I agree, this seems a little anomalous. OK, set standards and give guidance but treat it like most other safety and health training. Insist that it is suitable, sufficient, appropriate and effective. Indeed, training ‘approvals’ for many qualifications are routinely and adequately controlled via awarding bodies. HSE is acting like an awarding body here.

When it comes to Construction, the CDM regulations seem to have been instrumental in adding to the burden of paperwork and generating a myriad of training accreditation and competency schemes. This can be disproportionately burdensome for smaller projects. Not least the vast number of passport-type schemes that can be undertaken.

Other regulations are also considered. For example, The Portable Appliance testing racket. Although there is good HSE guidance on recommended testing frequencies for portable appliances, companies are told that they have to carry this out annually. Yet another classic, is the over zealous interpretation of work at height regulation – which some have interpreted as meaning that ladders are banned. Loftstedt’s answer to all of this is for the HSE to review the legislation ad guidance. Maybe, but if the guidance is already good, it’s more the message isn’t getting through.

On other matters, the HSE is commended for its sterling work on helping businesses understand how to interpret the law (especially ‘reasonably practicable’) but obviously more needs to be done.

One Comment

  • Andrew

    It seems pretty sensible to me to prune out some of the unnecessary regulations – if they’re not needed for safety reasons then they’re just creating a pile of paperwork for someone to have to deal with.

    I suppose the difficult part is knowing which rules are necessary and which aren’t?