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From the CEO's desk

22 June 2015

“The spring is sprung, the grass is riz"

And the spring also seems to be in the steps of the European legislators as the new Personal Protective Equipment Regulations make very timely progress through the EU policy procedures.

The text of the new PPE regulation is the subject of tripartite negotiations between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission and it is widely anticipated that the text will be published in the Official Journal in later in 2015.

With the application of the transition period it is looking increasingly possible that we will all be able to work with both the current and the new regulation from the latter part of 2017 with the current regulation fully replaced towards the end of 2018.

The BSIF and its membership have had a very constructive input into the text and I am pleased to say our voice has been heard, listened and reacted to. We trust that the final text will meet market needs and expectations.

While the European legislators debate, the UK election has returned a Conservative led majority government and the early publicity surrounding the Prime Minister has been the EU in / out referendum promised for sometime during 2017. That timing would coincide with the new EU PPE Regulation becoming part of UK legislation!

What can we expect in the coming months from Westminster?

We know Justin Tomlinson MP, Minister for Disabled People, has been confirmed as the Minister responsible for the Health and Safety. We are aware that Mr Tomlinson has been vocal on his views surrounding health and safety and was a supporter of the creation of a ‘Myth Busters Challenge Panel’, set up in 2012 by the HSE to provide a route for health and safety decisions or advice to be challenged. But will he champion health and safety at work?

May 7th will certainly be remembered for the election to Westminster of 56 Scottish Nationalist MPs. From the BSIF’s standpoint we do not yet have a relationship with SNP nor do we know of any official manifesto standpoint on safety and health.

The SNP have a generally left of centre political ideology and Scotland has long had a higher rate of fatal and major injury than other parts of the UK. In 2012/13 Scotland’s fatal and major injury rate per 100,000 workers was 83.4 compared with a UK average of 78.9. Given the numbers we would anticipate that the SNP would have a supportive view of the safety industry and its benefits.

One of the consequences of this monumental political shift was the loss of Labour’s Jim Sheridan, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health. BSIF engages with this group and work has already begun to re-establish and re-form with the new intake of MPs.

Last year we saw an early day motion supporting the Registered Safety Supplier Scheme (RSSS) and other key safety industry issues achieving 63 MP signatures: the General Election removed 30 of those supporters.

Undoubtedly our political landscape has changed. What has stayed the same is our commitment to keeping health and safety on the political agenda whether it is in the corridors of Westminster or the Berlaymont in Brussels.

Alan Murray, BSIF chief executive

Tel: 01745 585600