Manufacturing companies increasing investment in health and safety

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Senior managers in manufacturing companies are increasing their investment in, and commitment to, health and safety, a study by the manufacturers’ organisation EEF has found.

However, the cost in terms of time and money of complying with health and safety regulation is increasing, leading more manufacturers to begin to question the benefit of investing in this area, it also warned.

The poll of more than 200 manufacturers found that management involvement in health and safety matters now exceeded 90% for most measures, while the monitoring of health and safety performance by senior managers had increased by more than a quarter in the last seven years.

Manufacturers overall regarded the Government’s 2011 Löfstedt review of health and safety as timely and supported many of the recommendations it set out.

Nevertheless, health and safety “red tape” continued to be a concern, with seven companies out of 10 reporting an increase in costs and almost eight in 10 seeing an increase in time spent on health and safety compliance in the past three years.

Health and safety Directives from Europe were another significant cause for concern.

EEF said that as a result, the Government needed to become more active in its involvement with Europe on reviewing health and safety Directives and urged ministers to examine the feasibility of bringing health and safety enforcement under a single organisation – something it argued would be of particular benefit to small and medium-sized firms.

Terry Woolmer, head of health and safety policy at the EEF, said: “Manufacturers are seeing benefits to their businesses from their investment in health and safety. But at the same time, the cost of complying with health and safety regulation is increasing and manufacturers are becoming less positive about its benefits and their relationship with the regulator.”

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