Local councils enforce OSH law in sectors including logistics, retail, offices and entertainment. But regulatory work has fallen drastically in recent years. Local authority health and safety inspections dropped from almost 200,000 in 2009--10 to just over 75,000 in 2014--15. Prosecutions fell from 129 in 2010-11 to 78 in 2014-15.
The reductions may be partly explained by revised guidance to authorities on inspection priorities but probably also reflect long-term cuts in local authority budgets.
An HSE spokesperson said the executive's Local Authority Unit was "exploring possible ways to address the issues influencing local authority delivery of health and safety regulatory services.
"We want to ensure that local authorities have access to sufficient levels of regulatory competency for them to effectively deliver health and safety regulation of their allocated dutyholders."
In his 2011 report for the government on OSH regulatory reform, Professor Ragnar LÃ¶fstedt recommended that control of local authority enforcement should be transferred to the HSE but the recommendation did not align with the coalition government's localism agenda.