The HSE will create a separate panel to challenge decision made by non-regulators that bring health and safety into dispute, so that they can be disproved.
An independent “challenge panel” promised in the government’s response to the Lofstedt review, has been established for businesses to contest health and safety enforcement decisions they believe are incorrect or disproportionate. HSE has confirmed a second panel will be formed to allow non-regulators’ decisions to be contested.
The Independent Regulatory Challenge Panel, which was officially launched on 5 January, will handle complaints about advice given by either the HSE or local authority inspectors and will seek the expert advice of assessors in reaching a conclusion.
Any case since 30 June 2011 where someone believes the enforcing authority is incorrect or has gone beyond what is required to control the risk adequately is eligible for consideration by the panel. Its decisions will be made publicly available on the HSE website.
The panel will not consider issues where other independent appeals processes exist, such as for enforcement notices or prosecutions.
It will only act in an advisory capacity to the HSE, but the regulator “will respect the independence of the panel and its advice and where appropriate take it on board”. The panel was established following a recommendation in the Lofstedt review, which proposed the government introduce a mechanism for appeals against cases of incorrect, over-application of health and safety law.
The HSE will create a separate panel to challenge decision made by non-regulators that bring health and safety into dispute, so that they can be disproved. Hackitt announced that the panel will be set up “very soon, so that people can identify silly stories of a non-regulatory nature and for us very quickly to rebut them and make that a very public process”.