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Withdrawal of L21

Posted :13-09-2013

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) has recently withdrawn its Approved Code of Practice (“ACOP”) and Guidance to the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (“L21”).  Like other ACOPs, L21 had quasi-legal status in that an organisation that had complied with the provisions of L21 would be deemed to have complied with Management of health and Safety at Work Regulations (“MHSWR”). 

The HSE has also withdrawn its previous guidance on complying with Regulation 5 of the MHSWR, Successful Health and Safety Management HSG 65, which contained the POPMAR (policy, organizing, planning and implementation, measuring performance audit and review performance) model for a health and safety management system.  In the revised, web-based version of HSG 65, POPMAR is replaced with a ‘can, do, check, act’ model and the first two section of the guidance are for the first time is targeted at boards, trustees and senior managers. 

HSG 65 guidance is supplemented by a revised Leading Health and Safety at Work: Actions for directors, board members, business owners and organisations of all sizes (“INDG 417”).

HSG 65 and INDG 417 provide key actions for boards including:

  • Building a risk profile for the organisation;
  • Leadership on health and safety by the Chief Executive Officer (or nominated board member);
  • Having a specific board health and safety committee;
  • Designating a non-executive director to scrutinise health and safety;
  • Providing health and safety training for board members and managers; and
  • Carrying out periodic, external reviews of health and safety.

The removal of L21 means that in any corporate manslaughter prosecution, it will be open to the Crown Prosecution Service and/or the HSE to use a failure by an organisation to follow relevant HSE guidance (rather than just L21), as evidence of a failure to ‘manage health and safety at senior management level’, which is a constituent of the offence.

The HSE’s revised guidance significantly increases the emphasis on boards’ and directors’/trustees’ role in the leadership and management of health and safety and this further increases the risk of organisations being prosecuted, where boards have not followed HSE guidance.

Boards should review their health and safety systems and in particular, the role of the board and senior management in leading and managing health and safety. Where necessary, boards should implement the additional measures set out in HSE guidance, to ensure they comply with the requirements of the MHSWR.  For more information on the risks posed by the withdrawal of L21, or the implementation of revised guidance, please contact Susan Sinclair on 01423 881320, or at susan@sinclairassociates.co.uk.

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Withdrawal of L21

Posted :13-09-2013

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) has recently withdrawn its Approved Code o....


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Posted :20-03-2014

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