HC Deb 06 June 1978 vol 951 cc8-9
3. Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the preparations being made for the implementation of the regulations concerning workers' safety representatives on 1st October 1978.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. John Grant)

I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that responsibility for the implementation of these regulations rests with employers and the independent trade unions they recognise. While I am aware that many are preparing themselves for their implementation and some have already reached agreement, the Commission, my right hon. Friend and I have been encouraging those who have not yet started to do so immediately.

Mr. Rooker

Would my hon. Friend care to elaborate on that statement by distinguishing between the preparations in the public sector and those in the private sector? Is he satisfied with the preparations being made for the implementation of these regulations in the public sector?

Mr. Grant

I am certainly satisfied that all public sector bodies have now either reached agreement with their recognised unions about the arrangements to be made or else are in active consultation about them. If, as I think, my hon. Friend is concerned about the resources question, I would say that we believe that it can be done adequately within existing resources in the public sector—not without problems and some reordering of priorities—but we still have a constraint on resources and extra money spent here would mean less for other equally desirable activities.

Mr. Madel

Since it is hoped that safety representatives will fulfil a vital role in reducing accidents, what information do the Government have about the amount of training that the newly appointed representatives will have received? Are the Government satisfied with the level of training being given?

Mr. Grant

Most of the training is being done under the auspices of the TUC. The safety representatives will, of course, be officials of their unions, and the Employment Protection Act gives the TUC and the independent unions the right to determine the standards of training. The TUC is doing a great deal in this respect, so we need have no fears on that ground.