The Deepening Crisis in Enforcement

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  • 1.REGULATORY SURRENDER:DEATH, INJURY AND THE NON-ENFORCEMENT OF LAW Steve Tombs and David Whyte Health and Safety: A New Agenda at Work? Institute of Employment Rights Liverpool, 13th July, 2010
  • 2.Regulation Goes to Market New Labour’s second term of office crucial in consolidating its ‘better regulation’ agenda (most notably through the Hampton, Macrory and Rogers Reviews) Market-based and ‘risk-based’ principles became institutionally central to regulation – yet degrade the role of enforcement  
  • 3.Regulating Safety: strategy, policy, scrutiny HSE has continually sought to accommodate ‘burdens on business’ agenda uncritically HSE has anticipated and developed the Hampton agenda HSE has engaged in institutional denial regarding any contradiction between the government’s ‘burdens on business’ strategy and its role as regulator
  • 4.HSE and Local Authority H&S Prosecutions
  • 5.HSE Enforcement Notices
  • 6.HSE Investigations as a Percentage of RIDDOR Reports
  • 7.HSE Inspection Records
  • 8.RIDDOR Investigation by Incident Type
  • 9.RIDDOR Reported Deaths Resulting in Prosecution
  • 10.Key Trends in Enforcement Data A Collapse in Prosecution? a rapid decline in HSE enforcement action generally is apparent from 2002/03 a collapse in RIDDOR prosecutions appears to begin in 2002/03 some indications that the collapse is prosecutions is replaced by a rise in enforcement notices from around 2004/05 - though these remain at significantly lower levels than in the early years of New Labour in office Declining Inspections and Investigations: inspectors conduct one third of the inspections compared to 10 years ago there has been a decline in investigations of all kinds of incidents
  • 11.Where Next for the Regulation of Safety? Regulation in general is to likely come under further attack – and this may be particularly targeted at safety regulation HSE’s consistent capitulation to the ‘better regulation’ agenda has weakened its ability to resist a government that exhibits even more contempt for trade union demands for regulatory protection than its predecessors The failed strategy of HSE’s senior management has left its organisation vulnerable to further ‘reviews’ of regulation The absence of routine inspections, declining levels of investigation and a diminishing threat of prosecution make managements less likely to respond to workers’ demands to comply with the law How much energy should trade unions should still be investing in a body which is unable effectively to do that with which it is charged, and which has proceeded along a route to that position with tripartite agreement?