HSE inspection initiatives 2019-a clear focus on occupational health
Published 9 January 2019
The HSE’s most recent annual business plan (published in March 2018) provides some useful guidance on possible inspection initiatives that businesses can expect from the HSE during the early months of 2019. Indeed, the document identifies particular inspection milestones for the HSE to have completed by the early part of next year.
Firstly, the HSE aims to have carried out a total of 20,000 proactive inspections of businesses in relation to occupational lung diseases (OLDs), musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and work-related stress by the time it publishes its 2019/20 business plan. These three areas are the focus of the HSE’s “Go Home Healthy” campaign (originally launched in September 2017), which continues to drive a significant part of its inspection operations.
In addition, the HSE is seeking to complete a total of at least 500 inspections of businesses within a number of select industries by the first part of 2019, including metal fabrication, agriculture, food manufacturing and waste/recycling. In line with its “Go Home Healthy” campaign, the HSE most recently carried out a UK-wide construction inspection initiative in October 2018, with a particular focus on OLDs caused by asbestos, silica, wood and other dusts.
On top of the issues raised as part of the “Go Home Healthy” initiative, the HSE also aims to complete a further programme of targeted proactive inspections during the early part of 2019. Such visits have been aimed at specifically addressing priority issues within certain high-risk industries. Examples include the management systems of gas distribution networks in high-rise/multiple occupancy buildings.
The HSE has also acknowledged the need for it to continue delivering a programme of targeted interventions. In particular, the activities encompassed within the fourth quarter of its business plan include a focus on controlling high-consequence risk from legionella. This includes inspecting third parties involved in the provision of water treatment services, legionella risk assessors and cleaning contractors.
The final aspect of the HSE’s intended objectives for the initial part of 2019 is advisory. Its 2018/19 business plan outlines a need to deliver project-specific intervention plans for HS2, Thames Tideway and nuclear new build projects. The former will be of particular importance, as the construction of Euston Station for HS2 is due to commence in May 2019. The HSE has also outlined its intention to produce further guidance for employers in relation to the assessment and management of work-related mental ill health.
It is expected that the HSE’s next business plan for 2019/20 will be published in March 2019, at which point the success of its initial 2019 targets can be properly assessed.
Organisations should therefore continue to remain mindful of the HSE’s continued focus on occupational risks as we head into the New Year and ensure that they have the appropriate policies and control measures in place.