A recent survey of UK businesses has suggested that health & safety compliance remains more of a burden than other aspects of business compliance. Is this something that applies to your business? We work with many businesses who generally ask for our help because they find interpretation and insufficient resources a problem. Often more importantly, it’s easier to pass the problem on to us and let the business concentrate on what they are good at.
The survey of nearly 2,300 businesses broadly found a less positive perception of the government’s approach to regulation, with a third or respondents identifying that they felt complying had become more time-consuming. In particular, health & safety law was cited as burdensome.
Many of the businesses indicated that they found it difficult to find the information on what health & safety regulations applied to them. A key concern was the difficulty in finding guidance that explains what they need to do in order to comply with some regulations. This seems to be combined with a lack of time or resources and the number of businesses seeking outside advice and help has risen significantly. Many indicated the penalties for non-compliance were a major reason for seeking external advice.
With the October start for the Fee for Intervention scheme (HSE cost recovery) now confirmed, the need to seek competent advice is only likely to increase because the cost of a HSE visit is likely to be very expensive if compliance is not in order. It will definitely be an advantage to have your house in order or working towards this, rather than have the HSE tell you what needs to be done at £124 per hour.
At present the HSE is working on revising/reducing the number of Approved Codes of Practice (ACOP) as suggested by the Lord Young and Professor Lofstedt reviews. A key ACOP being looked at is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations which is expected to be replaced by more specific guidance. It remains to be seen if this will make things easier for businesses or will just add another burden. It is expected that any new guidance should provide comprehensive advice on how to comply with the law; however if time and a lack of resources remains a burden will this really help?