Senior management in manufacturing companies is increasing its commitment and investment in health and safety, according to an EEF survey.
However, the cost in terms of time and money of complying with health and safety regulation is increasing and the view the UK manufacturers have of its benefits has become less positive.
As a result, EEF urged government to be more proactive in its involvement with Europe on reviewing health and safety directives while accelerating reforms to UK regulations.
Terry Woolmer, head of health and safety policy at EEF, commented: “We need to see government take the lead in building an alliance for change in Europe and ensure that the review of European legislation delivers genuine results for British business. It also needs to speed up the pace of change at home so that business sees the full benefits from the changes recommended by the Lofstedt report.”
The EEF survey revealed that management involvement in health and safety matters now exceeds 90% for most measures, while monitoring of health and safety performance by senior managers has increased by over a quarter in the last seven years.
This has resulted in a continued reduction in the number of reported injuries.
However, the study also highlighted a more negative perception of the benefits of regulation, with seven in ten companies saying they experienced an increase in costs and almost eight in ten an increase in time spent on compliance in the past three years.
Health and safety directives from Europe still continue to give cause for concern, with 68% of respondents not fully understanding the impact the proposed Electromagnetic Fields Directive would have on their business.
The manufacturers’ organisation made a number of recommendations to government, including: examining the possibility to consolidate all H&S legislation into one statute and delegating enforcement to one organisation; reforming regulations that impose “strict” liability under criminal law; and publishing details on how it intends to support a 50% reduction in H&S regulation.