Revised HSE Guidance To Be Launched On Hazardous Substances

New Information To Clarify Employer Responsibilities


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed its plans to publish a revised Code of Practice on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health.

The proposed changes, revealed in the December 2013 edition of the Health and Safety Bulletin, include stricter requirements on employers to put in place suitable control measures.

The HSE is expected to make the position clear in respect of local exhaust ventilation and underline that the legal duty ‘to keep a suitable record of thorough examination and test’ lies with the employer rather than any occupational health service or provider. 

The guidance falls in line with various health and safety regulations which are designed to reduce the risk of injury and illness, including respiratory conditions to the lowest possible level.

In bolstering their Code of Practice, the HSE is increasing the onus on employers to ensure that employees’ symptoms are detected at any early stage with the benefit of frequent and comprehensive health surveillance checks.

Whilst ventilation of the workplace has been identified as a key control measure by the HSE, the importance of monitoring health and wellbeing has been underlined.

Expert Opinion
Any measures taken by the HSE which are designed to raise awareness of employers’ health and safety obligations to their employees is positive.

"Frequently we speak to clients who have been exposed to hazardous levels of dust and fumes from varying types of working practices who simply have not been given adequate protective equipment of clothing.

"In these circumstances we pursue every legal avenue in order to obtain justice for our clients and to ensure that others are not faced with similar life changing illnesses or conditions.

"The availability of this HSE information will be very important in ensuring that businesses are clear on their responsibilities and that employers found to be failing in any key areas can be held to account. If any worker has been diagnosed with a workplace illness, we would urge them to seek expert legal advice without delay."
Alex Shorey, Solicitor