Health and Safety

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th May 2023.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Shadow Minister (Future of Work), Shadow Minister (Business and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the capability of the Health and Safety Executive to investigate incidents that are deemed to meet the conditions for a mandatory investigation.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Britain continues to be one of the safest places to work in the world.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carries out planned inspection activity as well as investigating incidents. HSE has discretion as to what incidents it investigates and follows the principles laid out in Sections 6 and 11 in its Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS).

HSE’s published Incident Selection Criteria (ISC) gives guidance on matters that would normally be investigated, however there are a number of reasons why incidents meeting the ISC would not be investigated. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has discretion as to the matters it investigates, as such there are no mandatory investigations.

Where HSE decides not to investigate matters that are within the criteria, due to competing demands for resources, this is because they are deploying resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. Some investigations are unlikely to lead to further action so resource is better spent on proactive inspection work to prevent incidents happening in the first place.

HSE have appropriately trained and experienced inspectors, specialist inspectors and other regulatory staff who can carry out investigations in line with HSE’s policies and procedures, as required.

For 2022 / 2023, provisional figures show that 16,500 proactive inspections were carried out by HSE (against a target of 14,000) and were delivered through a mixture of high-risk programmes and campaigns, assurance and priority local visits. During this same period, 85% of fatal investigations were completed within 12 months of assuming primacy from the police (against a target of 80%) and 95% of non-fatal investigations completed within 12 months of the incident (against a target of 90%). This demonstrates HSE has appropriate measures in place to investigate incidents while also completing proactive inspection activity.

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