Proposals to review HSE’s Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs)

Last year the HSE issued a consultation on the proposals to review its Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs).

It sought views on proposals for the revision, consolidation or withdrawal of 15 ACOPs to be delivered by the end of 2013 and on proposals for minor revisions, or no changes, to a further 15 ACOPs, to be delivered by 2014.

The consultation ended in September 2012, and the HSE have now published its analysis of the public consultation responses.

A summary of these responses is below:

Proposals to revise, consolidate or withdraw ACOPs

  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) – to consolidate five ACOPs (L134-138) into a single revised ACOP. The overall conclusion is to proceed with the consolidation.  This proposal was supported by 90% of respondents.The main concern of those who opposed the proposal was the potential loss of focus and information in such a consolidation exercise. This will be addressed as part of the consolidation process to ensure that no critical information and guidance is lost.
  • Legionella – to revise Part 1 of this ACOP and remove Part 2 and make it separately available as revised technical guidance. The conclusion is to proceed with the proposal to split the current legionella ACOP in to two separate documents: i) a revised ACOP and general guidance (from the old ACOP part 1) and ii) revised and updated technical guidance (from the old ACOP part 2).The proposal to split the current ACOP in to two separate documents of different status is supported by a clear majority of respondents (71% of those who expressed a view). The primary objection to the proposal, that splitting the documents would make it more difficult for information to be accessed, is to be addressed by incorporating cross references into the ACOP and technical guidance and by providing cross-links on the HSE website where the documents will be available to download for free.
  • Asbestos – to consolidate two ACOPs (L127 and L143) into a single revised ACOP (L143). The conclusion is to proceed with the consolidation. Feedback from the consultation has proved positive with 140 (88%) of 160 respondents expressing in support of the proposal.
  • Gas Safety – to consolidate two ACOPs (L56 and COP20) into a single revised ACOP (L56). The conclusion is to proceed with the withdrawal of COP20 and integrate remaining material into L56 as proposed. A clear majority (91%) of respondents supported this proposal and although those who opposed the proposal were industry organisations that represent a large proportion of the gas industry, they have provided an alternative to retention of COP20 which is to transfer ownership of any additional COP 20 material that they want to retain to industry. The HSE will support this transfer of material.  Consultation responses also broadly support the proposal to withdraw landlord material (78%) and the HSE intend to proceed with this change.
  • COSHH – to revise this ACOP in combination with improvements to other HSE COSHH guidance targeted at low risk industries. The conclusion is to proceed with the proposal. 91% of respondents support the proposal and are content with the suggested amendments. No significant issues have been raised and concerns about the creation of a two tier system of high and low risk industries will be addressed during the drafting of the revised publication.
  •  Workplace health, safety and welfare – to revise this ACOP and review other HSE publications that provides guidance on related workplace health, safety and welfare issues. The conclusion is to proceed with the proposal.  93% of respondents are in support of the review of L24 and agree that the publication needs updating, simplifying and modernising. However, specific concerns have been raised (in particular by Trades Unions).
  • Management of health and safety at work – to withdraw this ACOP and replace it with more specific, updated guidance. The conclusion is to proceed with the proposed withdrawal of this ACOP. There has been no evidence submitted to alter the proposed course of action.No new issues have been raised by the consultation responses. The negative impacts raised by the respondents will be addressed by the actions taken replace the ACOP with the suite of guidance. A communications handling plan will be drawn up to ensure that the information/guidance provided by the ACOP will not be lost and will be covered by guidance which is easier to use. It will also be made clear that the legal requirements have not and are not changing; these changes will make the requirements easier to understand and therefore assist compliance.
  • Agriculture – to withdraw this ACOP and review other HSE publications that provide guidance on child safety within agriculture by March 2013. The conclusion is to withdraw the ACOP and other HSE guidance on child safety within the industry be reviewed by the end of March 2013.The HSE will need to work with partner organisations in the industry to agree a communications strategy and plan to reinforce the launch of revised guidance and to stress the continuing importance of child safety in the industry.Over half of respondents who provided a view (62%) supported the proposal to withdraw L116. A further 9 respondents were neither strongly in favour or opposed. In most cases, from their supporting comments it would be reasonable to infer they were broadly supportive of the proposal to withdraw L116.
  • Pipelines – to withdraw this ACOP (L81) and replace it with streamlined HSE web-based guidance and referrals to existing industry guidance. The conclusion is to withdraw the ACOP as the majority of the advice it provides goes beyond the legal requirements of the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996. In its place HSE will work with industry to amend an existing industry guidance publication (standard) specifically aimed at those involved in the design, construction and installation of gas service pipes. The HSE website will also be updated to inform duty holders of the changes, provide useful FAQ’s and to act as a signpost to the amended industry standard (IGEM TD/4), along with links to relevant training organisations and other organisations that publish technical standards for this area. HSE will work with industry (via IGEM) to develop and agree the required changes to the industry standard.

Proposals to make minor revisions or no changes

Of the proposals to make minor amendments or no changes to the ACOPs below, the overall conclusion was to proceed with the revision and updating of these ACOPs, apart from Workers involvement, where it was agreed to maintain the ACOP in its current form as proposed.

  • Diving (ACOPs L103 – 107)
  • Work equipment (ACOPs L22, L112, L114)
  • Lifting equipment (ACOP L113)
  • Confined spaces (ACOP L101)
  • Pressure systems (ACOP L122)
  • Hazardous substances – pottery production (ACOP L60)
  • Hazardous substances – lead (ACOP L132)
  • Quarries (ACOP L118)
  • Worker involvement (ACOP L146)

The full consultation analysis can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd241-analysis.pdf