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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 92

Date:- 29 March 2003

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Report with thanks to the HSE

THE Health and Safety Commission announced its policy on regulating high hazard industries through the use of permissioning regimes.

The new policy statement on permissioning regimes such as nuclear power plants, addresses the issues raised by stakeholders responding to the consultation exercise last December builds on the outcomes from the Discussion Document published in September 2000. 

Vic Coleman, head of the Health and Safety Executive division leading on this work for the HSC said:- “We want to ensure our approach to permissioning regimes is open, transparent and clear. Therefore it is important we explain exactly what is involved in permissioning regimes. 

“In simple terms, a ‘permissioning regime’ requires certain hazardous work activities, to have some form of “permission “ from the safety regulator before operations can start or continue. That “permission” might be a consent, license, and letter of conclusion or acceptance of a safety case or safety report by the safety regulator. Overall this provides added assurance that risks will be properly controlled while recognising that no system can guarantee safety”

The policy statement formally sets out for the first time the Commission’s approach to permissioning regimes. Permissioning will only be considered where work activities involve significant hazard, risk or public concern, for example risks of multiple fatalities or widespread and significant adverse effects on human health. 

Vic Coleman added:- “When reviewing existing permissioning regimes we will compare them against the principles described in this policy statement to ensure they remain fit for purpose. The policy statement will be kept under review to ensure it reflects HSC’s evolving experience of operating permissioning regimes.”
Report with thanks to the HSE

CONSTRUCTION industry representatives have decided to proceed with plans to establish a consortium to run an Occupational Health Support Pilot Scheme involving the co-ordination of an independent consortium Action Forum to oversee the project.

The Action Forum’s first task will be to raise funds of between £1 - £1.3 million for the pilot scheme, determining the most suitable provider for the pilot and establish the project. Money will be sought from industry and by applying for various sources of government funding. 

The scheme is likely to include providing free advice on occupational health issues, on-site risk assessments and advice on what specialist services are available to better manage workers’ exposure to key health risks. Once the project consortium and funding is established, the Occupational Health Support Pilot Scheme will be run in a specific geographical area. 

The underlying objective of the pilot is to test the feasibility of such a system with a view, if successful, the development on a national basis with the aim of reducing the estimated cost of work-related ill health to the industry of £760 million per year will take priority.

Andy Sneddon, Health & Safety Director of Construction Confederation said:- “The proposals for an Occupational Health Support Pilot Scheme represent a real opportunity to make a step change towards effective management of health issues. Lack of effective understanding of the ill-health effects of construction, and uncertainty regarding the cost and competence of health professionals, are both major obstacles. The pilot will test the strategies for overcoming these, and help to move the industry nearer achieving its objectives for occupational ill health under the Revitalising health and safety targets.”
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