Health and Safety past present and future | EEF

Health and Safety: past, present and future

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2015 saw some key changes to Health and Safety regulations such as Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) and Construction Design and Management (CDM). As we approach the New Year, it’s time to re-examine those changes and look ahead to what can be expected in 2016.


2015 has been a year of important updates to key Health and Safety regulations, such as COMAH and CDM. And with 2016 now set to usher in some tough sentencing guidelines for regulation offences, now is a good opportunity to take stock of where your business stands.

EEF offers in-depth nationally recognised NEBOSH training which covers the main legal requirements for health and safety and deals with a range of workplace hazards and methods of control. Our training can also help you deal with the COMAH and CDM changes.

For COMAH, the changes in 2015 have focused on the introduction of a new classification system, better public access to information relating to the hazards stored on COMAH sites, and improved safety reports, notifications and emergency planning. If you didn’t fall under COMAH before, you might do now, and even if you did before, you may have moved from a Lower Tier site to a Top Tier site, and therefore your obligations may have changed. Tweet this

In brief, the 2015 changes include:

  • An updated list of substances covered by the regulations
  • Some changed definitions
  • Transition arrangements for safety reports
  • New requirements for emergency planning co-operation by designated authorities
  • Stronger requirements for public information
  • Broadened ‘domino effect’ duty with members of a domino group required to share relevant information with neighbouring sites
  • Stronger requirements for the competent authority on inspection
  • A duty on local authorities to inform people likely to be affected after a major accident

If you need further practical help and support, EEF now have the ability to develop bespoke Emergency Planning Simulation Workshops, that re-create a disaster scenario in your business and then help you test how your procedures and your people react to it. Contact us to find out more.

The CDM changes meanwhile include:

  • Structural simplification of the regulations to make them easier to understand
  • The replacement of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) with more targeted guidance
  • Replacement of the role of CDM co-ordinator with a new role of ‘principal designer’
  • Splitting competence assessment into its component parts of skills, knowledge, training and experience
  • Removing the exemption for domestic clients, but passing their CDM duties to the contractor
  • Changing the threshold for appointment of co-ordinators where there is more than one contractor

It is important to get to grips with these changes, especially as 2016 will be a year of change regarding the sentencing for Health and Safety offences. Tweet this The new sentencing guidelines require the courts to first assess the overall seriousness of the health and safety offence based on the offender's culpability and the risk of serious harm, whether or not any harm was actually caused.

The guidelines then sets out a range of different starting points and possible fines based on the seriousness of the offence and the size of the named organisation. Fines could exceed £10m for serious health and safety breaches or £20m in corporate manslaughter cases, and even more for very large companies.

The new sentencing guidelines are coming into force in February 2016.


Health, Safety and Sustainability Delivery Lead

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