The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is concerned that new government guidance for its departments and other public bodies recommends as little as two weeks consultation on changes to policy or legislation, or sometimes no final consultation at all.
Currently, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) gives people at least three months to have their say – a policy IOSH supports. Severely cutting back that timescale would be foolhardy when lives are at stake, said the Institution.
IOSH is the largest professional body for health and safety practitioners in the world, with more than 40,000 members. Its members work at operational and strategic levels across all employment sectors.
IOSH Head of Policy and Public Affairs Richard Jones said: “We have diverse experience and expertise and are keen to contribute to government consultations, but it’s vital that there is sufficient time for the consultation process, so we have the opportunity to comment.
“We therefore would be concerned if the consultation period on important consultations was reduced below the current 12 weeks.”
Mr Jones said stakeholders need adequate time to gather and submit data if the ‘impact assessments’ that support legislative proposals are to be sufficiently robust and evidence-based.
“We have already recently raised concerns about the speed and scale of the consultation exercise the government is currently undertaking into proposed health and safety reforms,” he added.
“We have urged that the government do not to rush this process because we need carefully considered and high quality outcomes, in order to save lives and sustain businesses. This latest development, far from heeding the concerns that we and others have raised, seems to herald a potential worsening of the situation.
“It’s vital that those who may have important intelligence to contribute and those who may be affected by government proposals, are given full opportunity to have their voices heard. Consultation isn’t about rushing, it’s about listening”