Work and Pensions Committee Press Notice

04 December 2007: For Immediate Release

'Select Committee to inquire into the Health and Safety Commission and Executive'

Call for written submissions

Following a recent one-off evidence session, the Work and Pensions Committee has today announced a decision to undertake an inquiry into the operations and work of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the proposals to merge the two bodies.

In particular, the Committee will examine:

  • The legislative framework: Is the health and safety regulatory burden on businesses proportionate? Are EU directives interpreted and translated by HSC into UK law appropriately? Are businesses given appropriate guidance by HSE on their obligations under health and safety law? What impact will the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (2007) have on businesses' approach to occupational health and safety? Are director's health and safety duties appropriately covered by voluntary guidance? What influence does HSE have as a statutory consultee in local authority planning?

  • Resources: Does the HSE have sufficient resources to fulfill its objectives as the health and safety regulator and meet its PSA targets? Does HSE allocate its budget efficiently? Are there areas of HSE's operations that require additional investment?

  • Inspection, enforcement and prosecutions: What impact has the reduction in inspection rates had on standards of occupational health and safety? Does HSE get the balance right between prevention and enforcement? Are penalties for health and safety offences proportionate? Should the removal of its crown immunity be a priority for HSE? How effectively do HSE and local authorities interact in their inspection roles?

Hazardous Occupations:

Is HSE doing enough to improve health and safety standards in hazardous occupations, in particular:

  • Is HSE doing enough to tackle the rise in fatalities in the construction industry?

  • Is HSE doing enough to tackle offshore health and safety risks in the oil and gas industry?

  • Is HSE doing enough to maintain health and safety standards in the chemicals industry?

  • Migrant workers: Are migrant workers more at risk of occupational accidents? Does HSE do enough to protect migrant workers from health and safety risks?

  • Occupational Health: What must HSE do to meet its PSA targets for ill health and days lost per worker? Does HSE do enough to embed vocational rehabilitation in the workplace?

The Committee will also examine other areas of interest that are raised during the course of its inquiry.

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines stated below by 7 January 2008.

Please note

Each submission should:

  • aim to be no more than 10 sides of A4 in length;

  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

  • have numbered paragraphs;

  • be in Word format with as little use of colour/logos as possible; and

  • be emailed to the Committee, where possible, including full details and postal address.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

A copy of the submission should be emailed to and marked "Health and Safety Inquiry". Full postal address and contact details should be included.

Paper copies should be sent to: Emily Gregory, Work and Pensions Select Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless specifically authorised.