In 2008 BERR asked for views on the H&S system:

Are there particular health and safety requirements that do not make sense to you? What are they? Why?

 Specifically the Display Screen Equipment regulations make no sense, because although nearly all of us use computers at work, only in some very specific circumstances are we DSE "users". I am as likely to get strain reading about this review in my magazine as I am on a screen.

Why is this idea important?

But the bigger issue is that this is a regulation for a very specific aspect of working life and could be covered by the Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations with its requirement for – "a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work"

In general I would argue that the Management regulation is all that is required. It appears to me that using derivative regulations like Manual Handling, COSHH, Noise at Work, Working at Heights is not an effective way to communicate specific health and safety concerns. Each piece then requires its own guidance notes and HSE leaflets. These are an attempt to make it easier to follow the rules but I would argue that we need to remove the rules. Not least because this would give encouragement to managers to appreciate that this H&S issue is nothing complex.

Would you rather government told you exactly what to do? Or do you want Government to leave the detail for you to sort out?

I would suggest all employers are given the simple and explicit duty to protect their employees from harm at work. The judgement of an employer would be that there were recognised standards, approaches, methods that they could have applied and failure to do so, lead to people getting hurt or becoming ill at work. The problem with our current approach is that many employers are fairly confident that they know the hazards in their work and have them under control. But because of the many different regulations asking them to make assessments they feel that it is much more complex and therefore they say they want to be told what to do. The HSE then reduce a myriad of guidance notes etc., but frankly many of these are far to simplistic and are of no real benefit. I often feel they would only ever be of help to those people who not predisposed to read them in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.