Health and Safety Commission

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Health and Safety Commission
Health and Safety Commission logo.jpg
Commission overview
Formed 31 July 1974 (31 July 1974)
Dissolved 1 April 2008 (2008-04-01)
Superseding agency
Type Crown-status non-departmental public body
Jurisdiction England and Wales and Scotland

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) was a United Kingdom non-departmental public body. The HSC was created by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA).[1] It was formally established on 31 July 1974. The Commission consisted of a chairman and between six and nine other people, appointed by the Secretary of State for Employment, latterly the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, after consultation.[2] The first meeting of the HSC took place on 1 October 1974. Its responsibilities covered England and Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland, its functions were carried out by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland. It merged with the Health and Safety Executive on 1 April 2008.


The Commission's duties were to:[3]

  • Assist and encourage persons concerned with matters relevant to the operation of the objectives of the HSWA;
  • Make arrangements for and encourage research and publication, training and information in connection with its work;
  • Make arrangements for securing that government departments, employers, employees, their respective representative organisations, and other persons are provided with an information and advisory service and are kept informed of, and adequately advised on, such matters;
  • Propose regulations.

The Commission was further obliged keep the Secretary of State informed of its plans and ensure alignment with the policies of the Secretary of State, giving effect to any directions given to it.[4] The Secretary of State could give directions to the Commission.[5]

On 1 April 2006, the Commission ceased to have responsibility for railway safety.[6]


The Health and Safety Commission had five chair persons in its 34-year existence [7]

  • William (Bill) James Simpson (born 20 May 1920, died November 2001) July 1974 - 1983.
  • Sir (Edward) John Cullen (born 19 October 1926, died 14 January 2018[8]) 1983 - 30 September 1993.
  • Sir Frank John Davies CBE OStJ (born 24 September 1931) 1 October 1993 - 30 September 1999.
  • William (Bill) Henry Callaghan (born 19 May 1948) 1 October 1999 - 30 September 2007.
  • Dame Judith Elizabeth Hackitt CBE (born 1 December 1954) 1 October 2007 - 31 March 2008.

Commission members included:

  • Sandy Blair
  • George Brumwell
  • Margaret Burns
  • Danny Carrigan
  • Abdul Chowdry
  • Robin Dahlberg
  • Judith Donovan
  • Joyce Edmond-Smith
  • Sayeed Khan
  • John Longworth
  • Hugh Robertson
  • Elizabeth Snape
  • John Spanswick
  • Owen Tudor

Merger with the HSE[edit]

In practice, the Commission delegated its responsibilities to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).[9]

In August 2007, the Department for Work and Pensions started consultation on merger of the HSC and HSE to a largely positive response.[10] On 18 March 2008, government minister Lord McKenzie of Luton announced that the merger would be completed during spring 2008.[11] The merger was completed on 1 April 2008.[12][13]


  1. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.10
  2. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.10(2)-(4)
  3. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.11(2)
  4. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.11(3)
  5. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, s.12
  6. ^ Railways Act 2005, ss.2, 60/ Sch.3 para.3(1)(b)(2); Railways Act 2005 (Commencement No.5) Order 2006, SI 2006/266, art.2(2), Sch.
  7. ^ "Who's Who and Who Was Who". Who’s Who and Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. Retrieved March 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ "Sir John Cullen death announcement". 
  9. ^ Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, ss.11(4), 14
  10. ^ "The Merger of the Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive". Department for Work and Pensions. Archived from the original on 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  11. ^ "Cross party backing for health and safety professionals". Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  12. ^ Department for Work and Pensions (1 April 2008). "Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive merge to form a single regulatory body". Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  13. ^ Legislative Reform (Health and Safety Executive) Order 2008, SI 2008/960

External links[edit]