Looking ahead to the year 2012!

David Lummis, CEO of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), discusses what the year 2012 has in store for the health and safety industry.

 

David Lummis said: ‘As 2011 comes to a close, I’m left to contemplate what the year ahead has in store for the health and safety industry. The Lofstedt Review and the revised PPE Directive, are just a few of the topics that spring to mind which will have an impact.

Despite the seemingly endless stream of gloomy news from Europe, the UK appears to be weathering the turbulent financial storm. Whilst confidence remains fragile and with many investment plans on hold, industry output continues, something which is of course vital to keep the UK moving!

In Vince Cable’s speech at the beginning of the year, he highlighted that the UK remains the world’s sixth biggest manufacturer — a fact that still surprises many people when they hear it. With the spotlight continuing to shine on manufacturing, manufacturers will need to ensure that suitable health and safety measures are in place. Keeping up to speed on these varying health and safety needs, especially as manufacturing technology continues to develop, will be pivotal for our profession to develop and thrive.

Additionally this year, an independent review of health and safety legislation, chaired by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, has taken place.  Following a stakeholder consultation, the Lofstedt Review has now been published.  Within this review, Professor Lofstedt makes a number of recommendations to simplify and improve the way health and safety legislation is enforced.  As these recommendations are implemented throughout the next few years, companies and individuals will need to keep abreast of the changes taking place.

Another change in European Legislation is the amended version of the PPE Directive. The PPE Directive is a fundamental piece of European legislation relating to occupational safety throughout Europe. It has a large impact on the sale of PPE and directs many of the requirements of supplying this equipment to the UK market. A period of consultation has taken place and it is now anticipated that the final draft will be available in 2012 albeit that the final text of the Directive might not be available until 2013.

The new PPE Directive is set to make distributors and resellers of PPE responsible for the integrity of the equipment they are selling, as well as continuing to place the responsibility on the manufacturers. The repercussions of this new focus of responsibility throughout the purchasing chain will help ensure end users can purchase from a distributor with confidence, comfortable in the knowledge that the products they are buying are genuine.

The changes that are set to be made in the PPE Directive will have potential ramifications for businesses throughout the industry and is something the BSIF will continue to keep abreast of and advise as appropriate throughout the New Year.

Finally, one of the BSIF’s key focuses throughout this year has been its campaign to combat illegal and counterfeit PPE products. Throughout 2011, this campaign has gathered momentum and the aim to further educate end users about the need to purchase genuine, safe and legal safety products is a message that has been consistently reinforced. As the success and the drive of this campaign builds, so do our aims. 2012 will see the launch of our new PPE Checklist that has been devised to aid recognition for end users and trading standards of legal and compliant PPE. The BSIF’s Registered Safety Supplier Scheme has also seen an increase in members as organisations seek to join an initiative that helps them stand out from the crowd! All companies participating in the scheme have signed a binding declaration that the safety equipment they offer meets the appropriate product performance standards, is fully compliant with the PPE Directive and is therefore legally carrying the mark. Making sure end users are aware of the importance of purchasing PPE from a reputable organisation will continue to drive the BSIF into the New Year and beyond!

The world of health and safety is changing and in turn so must the businesses operating within the industry. As new legislations are implemented, organisations need to embrace the changes and adapt accordingly. Without doubt, 2012 may be challenging but the rewards in store far outweigh the challenges. We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.’

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