As part of the budget statement on 21st March a number of changes to Health and Safety Regulations were also announced. Many of these changes will directly impact members and their staff. Below is a summary of the most important:
• The Government will introduce legislative change in 2012 so that health and safety law will no longer hold employers to be in breach of their duties in civil law where they have done everything that is reasonably practicable and foreseeable to protect their employees;
• The Government will amend the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 to remove the requirement for the HSE to approve the training and qualifications of appointed first-aid personnel. Revised guidance aimed at small business will be published by May 2012, and provisions repealed by October 2012;
• The Government will amend the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation (RIDDOR) and its associated guidance to provide clarity for business on how to comply with the requirements by October 2013. This is in addition to the legislative change being made in April 2012 to extend to seven days (from three) the period an employee needs to have off work before an injury or accident needs to be reported;
• The Government will aim to start health and safety prosecutions within three years of an incident occurring by April 2013;
• The Government agree that the Insurance Industry will produce guidance for SMEs setting out what is and is not required to demonstrate compliance with health and safety law when obtaining insurance cover as agreed at the Prime Minister’s insurance summit in February 2012.
The full list is available to download here: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2012_documents.htm