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HSE right to take preventative action

AGENDA

PREVENTION is better than cure is an old adage that has become flavour of the month at the Health and Safety Executive.

Leaders of the safety body have decided to revamp the way they investigate accidents in a bid to make better use of their scarce resources.

The most significant change will be a reduction in the number of accidents probed by inspectors.

On first reading that sounds like a disastrous shift in policy.

But the move is a positive one, because inspectors will be able to put more effort into preventing accidents.

They are currently hampered by a policy that promises to investigate all major accidents.

That straitjacket is being removed, so run-of-the-mill incidents will not take up any more time than is necessary.

Inspectors will use that extra time to visit more companies to ram home the safety message at boardroom level to create a better safety culture and hopefully cut accident levels.

That can only be a good thing and is a sensible step by the HSE.

In an ideal world, it would be able to do both, but funding restrictions make that impossible.

Serious construction accidents will still be investigated and lessons learned that could prevent future tragedies.

But unnecessary enquiries can now be avoided, as inspectors now have more say in what constitutes a major accident.

This paper has never been slow to criticise the HSE when we have felt it is not doing enough to protect our readers.

This time the officials in charge have got it right and we all hope that more preventative action can reverse the recent rise in site deaths and accidents.