Health and Safety minister announces merger creating one organisation overseeing health and safety at work

The Health and Safety Commission and Executive have merged to form a single regulatory body.

The decision was reached after consultation with stakeholders and new body will be called the Health and Safety Executive. The merger will not change day-to-day operations.

Health and safety minister Lord McKenzie said: "The Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive have done an excellent job over the last 30 years in bringing about significant improvements to health and safety at work.

"However, to face the challenges and demands of the changing world of work, now is the right time to merge the organisations into one which can provide a platform for further improvements to health and safety at work across Great Britain.”

The Executive will retain its independence and the board will manage its overall direction, financial position and resources.

It will revise its strategy to develop a five-year plan, which will be published towards the end of 2008.

The merger means:

• There will be a single national regulatory body responsible for promoting better health and safety at work

• The current chair of the Commission becomes chair of the board of the new Executive

• Existing commissioners are appointed as non-executive directors of the new Executive for the remainder of their term of office with the relevant responsibilities of the new roles

• The board will number no more than eleven and the chair and members will continue to be appointed by the secretary of state

• All the fundamental contents of the Health & Safety at Work Act remain

• None of the statutory functions of the previous Commission and Executive will be removed

• There is no change in health and safety requirements, how they are enforced or how stakeholders relate to the health and safety regulator.