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MPs recommend allowing local authorities to charge for health and safety inspections

10 September 2018

Declining levels of health and safety inspections could be reversed if local authorities issued charges for health and safety inspections, according to an all-party Parliamentary committee.

Its report, Local Authorities and Health and Safety, includes a number of relevant points for the FM sector and states that the number of inspections and interventions by local authorities fell by 65% between 2010 and 2016.

This combined with a fall in numbers of full-time local authority health and safety inspectors of almost 47% between 2010 and 2017.

Unsurprisingly, the number of enforcement notices issued by local authorities also fell, recorded at the rate of 64% between 2010 and 2016/7, said the report.

One of the solutions proposed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health (APPGOSH) is the extension of the Fees For Intervention (FFI) scheme, according to The National Law Review.

The report also challenged whether workplaces regulated by local authorities, rather than the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), carry less risk than others.

When specific issues such as stress for office workers, injury and illness within warehouses, musculoskeletal injuries for supermarket employees and violence in pubs and clubs are taken into consideration, the view that these carry less risk should be considered further, said the APPGOSH report.

While workplace injuries have remained relatively constant since 2010, illnesses have increased and represent a much larger cause of ill-health, according to the report.

Health and safety local authority enforcement activity is currently directed by the HSE, which has, in part, contributed to a 97% reduction in inspections between 2010 and 2016.

The report also stated that HSE guidance makes no reference to work-related stress, with just one for musculoskeletal disorders, despite these accounting for two-thirds of sickness absence.

In order to address the issues stated above, MPs recommend increased numbers of compulsory inspections for new premises and business regulated by local authorities, with more focus on health, in addition to safety.

These are in addition to the report's recommendation for extending the FFI scheme for use by local authorities, which would see companies deemed to be in breach of health and safety regulations being charged £129 per hour for inspections and associated activities.

Those wishing to read the APPGOSH report can do so here.

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