Regulatory Timeline: Health and Safety

Written on 25 Feb 2015

“As the Health and Safety Executive puts more emphasis on ‘health’ and not just on ‘safety’ of employees in the workplace, businesses are being encouraged to look at proactive leadership on health and safety, not as something they have to do but something that will actually save them time and money if done properly. I predict 2015 will see campaigns focused on management of occupational health risks in the workplace, including stress and obesity.”

1 April 2015 – Liaison agreement between Care Quality Commission, Health and Safety Executive and Local Authorities

The agreement applies to health and safety incidents in the health and adult social care sectors in England only. Its purpose is to help ensure that there is effective, co-ordinated and comprehensive regulation of health and safety for patients, service users, workers and members of the public.

Under the agreement, the key areas of responsibility will be as follows:

  • CQC will lead investigations that relate to the safety and quality of treatment and care provided to patients and service users by CQC registered providers; and
  • HSE and Local Authorities will lead investigations that relate to health and safety matters involving: patients and service users receiving health or care services from non-CQC registered providers; and workers, visitors and contractors.

6 April 2015 – The revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations come into force

The new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (the 2015 CDM Regulations) replace the 2007 CDM Regulations. Key changes include the introduction of a role of a ‘principal designer’, who will fulfil the role previously held by the CDM co-ordinator under the current rules. The revised CDM Regulations will also apply to construction works in a domestic setting.

There will be transitional arrangements in place to cover 6 April 2015 to 6 October 2015. The HSE published guidance in January 2015, although the practical implications of the revised CDM Regulations will not be fully known until they have come into force and begin to be tested.

6 April 2015 – The anniversary of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

In the seven years since the the Corporate Manslauther and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (the CMCH Act) came into force, 10 companies have been convicted under the newly created offence of Corporate Manslaughter in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

  • Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings: £385,000 fine (115% of annual turnover);
  • JMW Farms: £187,000 fine (13.6% of most recent annual profits);
  • Lion Steel Equipment: £480,000 fine (150%-200% of recent annual profits);
  • Mobile Sweeper (Reading): £8,000 fine (the company ceased trading, but the judge fined the owner £183,000 for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974);
  • Princes Sporting Club: £134,579 fine (all of the company’s assets);
  • J Murray & Son: £100,000 fine (the company was trading at, or close to, a loss for the previous five years);
  • Sterecycle (Rotherham): £500,000 fine (the firm is in liquidation);
  • Cavendish Masonry: £237,117 fine;
  • Peter Mawson Ltd: £220,000 fine;
  • A Diamond and Sons, £75,000 fine.

We are yet to see the prosecution of a very large business under the CMCH Act. It remains to be seen how the sentencing guidelines would be applied to an undertaking with very large profit levels and asset reserves.

6 October 2015 – 2015 CDM Regulations fully in force

The 2015 CDM Regulations are due to come into force in full from 7 October 2015. For projects starting before 6 April 2015, the client must appoint a principal designer as soon as it is practicable, where the client has not yet appointed a CDM co-ordinator. If, on the other hand, a CDM co-ordinator has been appointed, a principal designer must be appointed to replace the CDM co-ordinator by 6 October 2015 (unless the project comes to an end before then).