I promised to finish off the law this time. As you know this is where the national and internationally diplomas depart from each other.
As far as the national qualification goes, much of what is there is simply reinstated from what was previously element A9. You’ll notice the voyage around the main legislative instruments is there again, as you’d expect. But this will necessarily repeat some of that is covered in context from element A2 (where there is an in depth treatment of management regulations regarding safety management systems). The enforcement of health and safety law has been restructured and brought up to date, with some welcome clarifications.
There is more direct reference to the HSE’s enforcement policy statement. No employer is ever going to rely on their safety advisor for legal advice. Instead, you’d go to a lawyer for anything serious. The safety adviser isn’t expected to be a legal expert then, but instead have greater focus on interpreting and practically applying the law. Part of that is dealing with the regulator and, strangely it helps a bit knowing the mind of the regulator – that is, what they are aiming to do. We already know about the desire of HSE to see far more “sensible health and safety” – being proportionate. This gets more into the detail of what approach they are likely to take. Contrary to popular myth, the HSE are not out to prosecute everyone for any and every slight infringement.
A11 is pretty much as it was previously, but again, reorganised. The content on negligence defences has been moved into a section on Breach of Statutory duty. This seems sensible, given both are civil actions and sometimes used together (if the statute gives rise to civil action) in that double-barrelled approach.
IA9 is the international equivalent of all this law. Nevertheless, because the British enforcement model is actually pretty good, fair and balanced, the HSE enforcement policy approach gets an honourable mention. Indeed, the HSE, to some extent export their approach by advising other governments – yes, they are seen internationally as a good role model.
The mention of international conventions is now more explicit. The main conventions are now mentioned by name in the text. And, as you know, Conventions are essentially “somebody somewhere must do something” calls to action. There is no impact unless someone actually does something and adopts them.
Next week we’ll move onto Unit B.