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New guidance for HSE inspectors under attack

THE CENTRE for Corporate Accountability has hit out at new guidance for Health and Safety Executive inspectors, which is leading to fewer investigations taking place.

The internal guidance advises inspectors that deaths and major injuries will not be investigated unless there is a clear indication of the Health and Safety at Work Act being broken, there is a high level of risk and there is no other more appropriate regulatory body to deal with it.

Previously all public safety and major injuries would be investigated unless the alternative body had the necessary enforcement powers.

CCA director David Bergman said: 'We are very concerned about this new policy.

The HSE has a statutory obligation to establish adequate arrangements for enforcing public safety duties imposed on employers.'

Steve Kay, chairman of trade union Prospect's HSE branch, told a House of Commons inquiry that serious accidents were not being probed as a result of the new guidance.

Describing an incident where a man's hand was burned in an injection moulding machine, he said: 'Under the new selection criteria that will not be investigated because burns to less than 10 per cent of the body are not to be investigated, and that is of serious concern to us.'