Health and safety calendar – September 2006

United Kingdom

The health and safety calendar highlights key dates for proposed and existing legislation and policy and closing dates for consultation papers relating to major health and safety issues in the UK and EU.

It will provide a useful tool for health and safety managers tracking new legislation to control risks and improve performance through a health and safety management system such as OHSAS 18001.

Developments for September include:

  • The FSA consultation period for comments to be lodged on a draft advisory document, developed by the Food Incidents Task Force, in order to reduce the possibility of future contamination incidents, such as those involving Para Red and Sudan dyes, and to improve the management of such incidents if they do occur is set to finish on 8 September 2006. The key proposals within this document are:

- to outline the roles and responsibilities of all the key players in preventing and responding to food incidents

- to summarise current best practice in incident management

  • The consultation period for comments to be submitted on a document setting out options aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of worker involvement in health and safety risk management by voluntary initiatives or by strengthening the legal requirements for consultation with employees conducted by the HSC is set to finish on 8 September. Here the HSC set out what they mean by “worker involvement” and why they think it is important. They also look at what they call the three “pillars” of their strategy, legislation, guidance, and encouragement. They introduce suggestions for how they might strengthen each of these three pillars and ask for feedback about these suggestions and any other new ideas.
  • 8 September 2006 is also the closing date for comments to be lodged with DEFRA on what reasonable steps a labour user should take to check that a labour provider is licensed. This consultation is to discuss provisions relating to gang-master legislation which if implemented will mean that if a labour user is prosecuted for dealing with an unlicensed labour provider, he may use the defence that he took all reasonable steps to satisfy himself that the labour provider was licensed. The Secretary of State is to determine what will constitutes "reasonable steps" and it has been suggested in informal discussions with some stakeholders that guidance might be preferable to regulation.