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HSE Publish Annual Report

Health & Safety Executive Annual Report 2008 / 2009

On 1 April 2008, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) merged to form a single regulatory body, retaining the HSE title, with the overall purpose of the prevention of death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities in Great Britain. This is the first Annual Report since the merger and it summarises the ‘new’ HSE’s performance during 2008/09, together with the valued work that we undertake in partnership with local authorities, trade unions, other parts of government and other public and private sector stakeholders. We recognise that during the year unprecedented economic circumstances have emerged mwhich inevitably create significant pressure on organisations to reduce costs. It is, therefore, essential that health and safety remains high on the agenda as a driver of business benefit not a cost or ‘burden’.

While HSE uses a range of influencing techniques and interventions, when it is clear that failure to comply with workplace health and safety regulations may put the lives of others at risk we have taken – and will continue to take – enforcement action. Based on the latest statistics for 2007/08, HSE issued 7715 enforcement notices and prosecuted 1137 employers. Those organisations found guilty were fined £10 819 475 for breaching health and safety law. Investigation and, ultimately, prosecution not only secures justice but is also vital if we are to learn from events and share the knowledge to prevent recurrence in similar circumstances.

Feedback from our stakeholders tells us that the majority value HSE’s work highly. We have, however, increased our activity to counter inaccurate and often misleading claims in some sections of the media about alleged overzealous health and safety regulation by successfully promoting our message of a sensible and proportionate approach to risk management Industry and the workforce have changed over the years, with a growth in hazardous industries such as recycling and waste management. We also have more small businesses and a more diverse workforce. This necessitates new approaches to managing risks but within a regulatory framework that remains fit for purpose. Our task, therefore, is to find new, effective and innovative ways to engage current and future workforces to:

  • reduce the number of injuries and cases of ill health;
  • recognition of what real health and safety is about;
  • motivate all those in the health and safety system as to how they can contribute to an improved health and safety performance; and ensure that those who fail in their health and safety duties are held to account.

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I would like to thank you on behalf of the trust for performing so well in carrying out the demolition works in such an efficient and professional manner.

South Downs Health