HSE to help ‘build back greener’ as part of new strategy

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HSE has pledged to ‘Build Back Greener’ to support the government’s net zero plan for a green recovery.

HSE will aim to help oversee a ‘safe transition’ to a carbon-neutral economy, which is the UK’s public and legal commitment of achieving net zero greenhouse gas, including carbon dioxide emissions, by 2050.

It is a new priority for HSE, included in its just released 2020/21 Business Plan. While the health and safety regulator is already active in green technologies, such as developing guidelines for offshore wind sector, new technologies are developing rapidly.

Changes such as greener building technologies will add to the profile of risks HSE has to manage in future. Photograph: iStock

These innovations – including battery technologies, decarbonisation of industry, the use of drones and greener building technologies – will add to the profile of risks HSE has to manage in future.

10 year vision

The years 2021/22 will also see HSE start to draw up its new 10-year strategy to review its “mission, vision and values to ensure they are relevant to the future world of work”.

“Having a clear, long-term strategic vision for HSE is critical to ensuring we remain relevant in the changing world of work and our increasing public assurance focus,” say Sarah Newton (Chair) and Sarah Albon (Chief Executive) in the foreword.

Ill health

The Health and Work Strategy will continue to make interventions on ill health issues (2021/22 will be the fifth year of tackling musculoskeletal disorders, stress and lung health). Last year, 1.6 million workers reported suffering from work-related illness.

Highlights of HSE’s plans here include establishing a round table of health and work ‘influencers’, and a health and work summit for 2021/22 to promote actions to address work-related ill health.

The stress ‘talking toolkit’, which HSE designed to help line managers hold conversations with employees, will be enhanced this year for the construction industry and emergency services.


In 2019/20, HSE conducted 160,000 spot checks and inspections to ensure workplaces were Covid secure. HSE plans to deliver 100,000 spot checks, including telephone and on-site compliance spot checks in 2021/22 which it will finance through a further additional £14m government funding.

However, this is an ‘initial target’ which will be reviewed as pandemic restrictions are eased. HSE will also review its service to identify improvements and ‘digital options’ to improve case management of its work in this area.

Performance – safety

In the year to date, there were 178 prosecution cases heard in courts in 2020/21 compared to 364 in 2019/20, although these are the figures for the year to date. HSE has a 95 per cent success rate for convictions.

HSE expects to conduct around 14,000 inspections this year, as per last year but wants to increase these as a ‘large cohort’ of new inspectors are trained up. 

On the financial side, HSE aims to recoup £81m through cost recovery and commercial income. It will receive £245 million in government funding in total, an increase from £147.7m in 2020/21 and £135.3 in 2019/20.

Read the HSE Business Plan 2021/22 here


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