Health and Safety Authority's Consultation Policy
Last Updated 26th September 2017
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 places an obligation on the Health and Safety Authority to keep under review relevant statutory provisions, and to submit to the Minister any proposals it considers appropriate. The Minister may also direct the Authority to undertake reviews of health and safety legislation and to assist in the drafting of legislation. The power to make regulations under the Act includes the power to give effect to any relevant European Communities directives.
Before submitting legislative proposals to the Minister, the Act states that the Authority must consult with other persons or bodies that appear to be appropriate having regard to the proposals (section 57(2)).
Before submitting a code of practice to the Minister, the Act states that the Authority may publish a draft of the code of practice for consultation (section 60(2)(b))
Purpose of Consultation
The Authority policy to consult with stakeholders ensures an open and transparent approach to decision making. This is essential if legislation and codes of practice are to have widespread ownership and reflect the requirements and aspirations of the people they will affect. In line with the provisions of section 57, 58 and 60 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and sections 6 and 7 of the Chemicals Acts 2008 and 2010 the Health and Safety Authority will consult on all regulations it proposes, and on codes of practice as appropriate.
The decision to go to public consultation for a code of practice is taken on a case by case basis by the Board of the Authority and takes account of factors including the nature of the changes to the code and the extent of consultation already completed with relevant parties.
The Authority will facilitate consultation in a number of ways including seeking submissions directly from interested parties and by publishing a call for submissions on the consultation section of the Authority website. In all cases, the process will involve the following:
- Preparation of consultation papers
- Receipt of submissions
- Evaluation of submissions and preparation of written response to all comments received
- Consideration of submissions by the Board of the Authority
- Submission to the Minister
- Publication of outcome of consultation process on the website
Preparation of consultation papersOnce the draft legislative proposals or code of practice are approved for public consultation by the Board of the Authority the draft papers will be published on the Authority’s website. An overview of the purpose of the legislation will be provided, together with details of the process to be followed in making a submission, including the deadline and the acceptable format for responses.
Receipt of submissionsThe consultation period allowed in respect of proposed regulations and codes of practice will usually be one month. Submissions should be made in the required format to facilitate analysis.
Evaluation of submissions and preparation of written response to all comments receivedThe Authority will review and analyse submissions and give further consideration to draft regulations and codes of practice in light of this analysis. It may be necessary during the evaluation to invite parties making submissions to clarify matters. The length of time necessary to complete this stage will vary depending on the volume and complexity of submissions received.
Consideration of submissions by the Board of the AuthorityFinalised proposals for regulations and codes of practice along with a summary of the submissions received will be submitted to the Board of the Authority for approval to transmit to the Minister.
Submission to the MinisterSubject to Board approval, the draft regulations will be forwarded to the Minister for legal settlement by parliamentary counsel. Draft codes of practice will be forwarded to the Minister for consent to their publication by the Authority.
Publication of outcome of consultation process on the websiteThe Authority will publish a document showing the outcome of the consultation process. The outcome document will include each submission and the Authority’s consideration of the submission. The outcome document will be published after the draft regulations or code of practice have been approved by the Board and transmitted to the Department. Submitter details will be published, with the exception of personal contact details and home addresses of individuals (individuals responding in their professional capacity will have their contact details published). Responses to public consultations are invited on the basis that submitters agree to their response being dealt with in this way. Submitters are also asked to note that the Authority is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2003.