Food Law News - UK - 2010

CIEH Press Release, 15 October 2010

ENFORCEMENT / HYGIENE - The CIEH’s response to Lord Young’s report on Health and safety

The Chartered Institute of Environmental (CIEH) has broadly welcomed Lord Young’s Report on Health and Safety released today.

Commenting on the report, Stephen Battersby, CIEH President, said:

 “The CIEH agrees with Lord Young when he calls for a common sense and proportionate approach to health and safety. The CIEH believes that all people need to be protected at work and responsible businesses should be able to operate without unnecessary burdens.

 “We share the report’s concern at the recent growth in activities by the legal profession to encourage litigation in the event of accidents; this has clearly prompted organisations to become more risk averse.

 “Lord Young seeks to get that balance right, but it will be important to examine the ways to achieve this carefully. While specific sectors may appear to present low hazard workplaces there are many examples of “hidden hazards” for example this might include violence to staff, which is problematic in certain parts of the retail sector.

 “A key component in ensuring the effective and proportionate application of health and safety rules will be the use of well qualified and competent professionals working in the private, public and voluntary sectors.

 “We are very pleased with Lord Young’s recommendation for the creation of a national register of accredited health and safety consultants. We have been working with the HSE and other professional bodies on the development of an Occupational Safety Consultants Register (OSCR) which will be launched in January 2011.

 “Transparency in health and safety and food safety performance can be an important driver in boosting standards. That’s why the CIEH has long supported a National Food Hygiene Rating scheme, which would involve businesses displaying their ratings in an area visible to consumers. However it is important to note the scheme is primarily about consumer confidence, and we do not think it is relevant to workplace health and safety.

 “As regards merging food and health and safety inspections, this is already the norm in many local authorities. Environmental health practitioners are uniquely qualified in both food safety and health and safety.

 “The report refers to the RIDDOR reporting system, which allows action to be taken to prevent further incidents and to hold businesses to account where necessary and provides intelligence to focus future activity. While there may be good reason to review the reporting mechanism any changes should be risk based. We would not want to see a situation wherein businesses might become less careful about accidents.

 “In any future changes to the health and safety system, the impact on business will be a key consideration and the different requirements of small and large businesses need to be recognised. We welcome Lord Young’s recognition of the need to support SMEs and the value placed on the support provided by local authority inspectors.

 “The CIEH looks forward to working with the HSE and others in addressing Lord Young’s proposals.”

A copy of Lord Young's report is available on this site. See: Lord Young Report: Common Sense, Common Safety

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