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HSE needs formal powers, says FPB

The Forum of Private Business has warned that proposals to merge the Health & Safety Commission and Health & Safety Executive must make sure the new organisation stands up to scrutiny.

The Forum is calling for the powers of inspectors and officials at the new Executive to be legally defined to ensure the regulators’ compliance code is met.

FPB national chairman Len Collinson said: “We are happy that this amalgamation offers opportunity for decreasing red tape. However, we are concerned that regulators are not properly scrutinised or supervised to make sure the British industry remains competitive and flexible.”

The plan to merge the HSC and HSE completed its second consultation stage last week. Around 80 per cent of respondents to the initial consultation were in favour of the proposed merger.

HSC chair Judith Hackitt said the new board will act in the same way as the present Commission with no role in influencing a prosecution decision as the policy regulator.

Ms Hackitt said: “It will remove a lot of the confusion and the difficulty explaining the difference between the two. It’s about modernising and clarifying the lines of responsibility.”