Health and Safety Executive
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Have your say on HSE's Approved Code of Practice review

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a three-month consultation on proposals for the revision, consolidation or withdrawal of its Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs).

The review is part of HSE's work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they can do to comply with health and safety law, following recommendations made in Professor Löfstedt's independent review of health and safety legislation.

Professor Löfstedt reported that the principles of ACOPs were supported by a range of organisations who saw them as forming a key link between goal setting legislation and guidance. However it was felt they could be improved to make it easier for employers to understand and meet their legal obligations and so reduce the risks of over-compliance.

Consultees have until 14 September to submit their views on proposals to revise, consolidate or withdraw of 15 ACOPs and on minor revisions, or recommendations for no change, to a further 15 ACOPs.

There is also a proposal to withdraw the ACOP for the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and replace it with a suite of more specific, updated guidance. The consultation also asks if all ACOP documents should be limited to 32 pages, except in exceptional circumstances.

ACOPs provide practical guidance on complying with the general duties of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) or the requirements of goal-setting regulations.  They cover a wide range of industries and workplaces and are mostly targeted towards high risk activities.

Legal responsibilities to protect workers' health and safety will not be altered by any changes to ACOPs.

Laurence Monaghan, Consultation Manager, said:

"ACOPs have been recognised as important publications for helping businesses manage the risks from their work activities. Through the review we aim to update and improve our ACOPS to make it quicker and easier for employers and other users to understand what can be done to comply with health and safety law."

The consultation is available online at: www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd241.htm1

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. For more information about the work of HSE, visit www.hse.gov.uk2
  2. ACOPs are not law but do have a special legal status; if the advice in ACOP material is followed in relevant circumstances duty holders can be confident they are complying with the law. This is made clear in the front of each ACOP document by a statement that those who comply with the ACOP material will have done enough to comply with the law on the specific issues addressed by the ACOP.
  3. The Löfstedt review is available on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/health-and-safety link to external website3

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