EEF calls for closer collaboration on EU health and safety law

Manufacturers are urging the Government to redouble its efforts to build an alliance with other European Union member states to reduce the burden of health and safety legislation and remove unnecessary red tape.

The call was made by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF following a survey it conducted showing that companies are becoming increasingly concerned at EU proposals for even more health and safety legislation.

By contrast, the survey revealed a strong appetite for case study guidance as the best means of improving control of key risks, the organisation said.

Employers also rejected the idea of a statutory licence for both health and safety advisers and consultants, preferring the option of a tougher voluntary accreditation system for consultants, which is due to be introduced following last year’s review of health and safety by Conservative peer Lord Young.

Two key changes to European law are worrying employers: a European Commission proposal to require stress and work pressure to be considered as part of risk assessments for back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders and proposals to change the legislation on ionising radiations.

Of the two, three-quarters of employers polled believed the musculoskeletal proposition was bad, while, of the quarter of businesses that worked with ionising radiations, 95% believed that the current law was appropriate and should be neither tightened nor relaxed.

The survey also identified a need for case study guidance that could provide companies with some of the practical solutions to health and safety problems.

To this end, the EEF has launched new case study guidance on musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), which can be downloaded for free by EEF members from the EEF website.

Steve Pointer, EEF head of health and safety, said: “The legislative framework in the UK is mature and there is little belief amongst those managing health and safety that further legislation would raise standards.

“However, whilst there is pressure in the UK to reduce legislation and remove unnecessary bureaucracy, the European Commission is moving in the opposite direction, continuing to propose new legal requirements,” he added.

XpertHR provides a quarterly round-up of health and safety legislation.

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