HSC launches consultation into merging with HSE into one organisation

The Health and Safety Commission has launched a public consultation on a possible merger of the HSC and the Health and Safety Executive into one authority.

The HSC says a merger will help modernise the two organisations as well as making them a powerful unit.

The HSC says a merger will provide:

  • a more accountable structure in line with current best practice;
  • better decision making and a clearer public and regulatory presence;
  • for the continued independence of the safety regulator;
  • a balanced structure at arm's length from Ministers; and
  • membership for representatives from employer and employee backgrounds, with a seat for local government and a member designated to maintain links with the devolved authorities.
Bill Callaghan, HSC chairman, said: "The shape of the labour market, the nature of workplace risks and stakeholder expectations are very different to those which created the backdrop to the Health and Safety at Work Act 30 years ago.

"We therefore decided earlier this year that the time was right to look critically at how our governance arrangements compare with best practice, what works well at present and whether we could strengthen the links between strategy and delivery necessary to provide the accountability expected of a public body in the 21st century.

"Our conclusion is that merging the Commission and Executive into a single body will give us a more robust governance framework, improve our working practices and create a stronger voice for health and safety in Great Britain."

At the moment the HSC has overall responsibility for occupational health and safety regulations in Great Britain. The HSE looks after health and safety in nuclear installations, mines, factories, farms, hospitals and schools, offshore gas and oil installations, the safety of the gas grid and the movement of dangerous goods and substances, and many other aspects of the protection of workers and the public.