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Health Hazards: Regulation

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th May 2011.

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Photo of Linda Riordan Linda Riordan Labour, Halifax

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

There has been no recent assessment of the effectiveness of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002—known as COSHH. However COSHH implements, among others, Directive 98/24/EC, the chemical agents directive, and the UK was obliged to assess the impact of the first five years of practical implementation of chemical agents directive in 2007.

This assessment was prepared for the UK Government by the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It is available on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/hscarchive/2007/060207/c20.pdf

The assessment concluded that while it was too early to assess the effect of the implementing regulations on occupational health and safety, as even if enough time had elapsed for potentially significant improvements to occur, it would be challenging to differentiate between the effects of the regulations, effects of other initiatives, e.g. targeted inspector activity, and background trends in improving health and safety.

The UK will be required to undertake the next assessment of the implementation of the chemical agents directive later this year and HSE is currently considering the most appropriate way to do this.

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