HSE Creates Chemicals Regulation Directorate

Britain's Health and Safety Executive combined its Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) and Chemicals Assessment Schemes Unit (CASU) on April 1 to form the new Chemicals Regulation Directorate, which is responsible for regulation of biocides, pesticides, detergents, chemicals, and duties under the Classification and Labelling regime. PSD Chief Executive Kerr Wilson became director of CRD and reports directly to HSE's CEO Geoffrey Podger.

"Bringing together the delivery of HSE responsibilities for pesticides, biocides, detergents, and industrial chemicals into one directorate has the potential to provide all stakeholders with a better regulatory service," Wilson said when the announcement was made March 30.

PSD became part of the Health and Safety Executive, which is Britain's equivalent of OSHA, only a year ago, on April 1, 2008, when it was transferred to HSE from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. HSE already oversaw regulation of biocides and chemicals; the consolidation had been recommended by a 2005 review of regulatory agencies.

The main reasons given for merging PSD into HSE were:

  • Regulatory scientific synergies between PSD and HSE were strong.
  • PSD's customers preferred the merger and expressed this during a high-level stakeholder engagement exercise in 2007.
  • Potential conflicts of interest were feared if PSD joined a proposed new agency.

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