Building the World’s First Industrial Safetytech Regulatory Sandbox Case Studies

Five technology companies

Five technology companies, from an initial field of over 200 were chosen via the Sandbox selection criteria to participate in investigative studies exploring challenge areas identified in collaboration with companies from the UK construction sector.

Aims and objectives

HSE was awarded funding from the third round of the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund (RPF), run at that time2 by the Better Regulation Executive (BRE), to create the first Industrial Safetytech Regulatory Sandbox (ISRS) for the UK construction sector. The RPF is a grant-based fund to enable UK regulators and local authorities to help create a UK regulatory environment that encourages business innovation and growth. The current £12m round is being delivered by DSIT.


The aim of the ISRS project was to explore the opportunities for improvements in health and safety performance and compliance using Industrial Safetytech (IS), and to understand the barriers to adoption of these new technologies by industry. The project aimed to use a Sandbox approach to develop recommendations for the health and safety system, government, and industry to help accelerate improvements in the workplace through the use of technology.


The ISRS project set about establishing a Sandbox environment to enable HSE, as the regulator, and key construction sector stakeholders to come together and work collaboratively with technology companies. The goal was to explore the potential of new technologies to address a set of defined health and safety risks in a structured way. The Sandbox was not about suspending established regulations or trialling new ones, nor was it about technology field trials. This Sandbox was run as a desk-based set of investigative studies to collaboratively explore the defined challenges, including the practicalities of overcoming barriers to adoption of IS in specific contexts across the construction sector.

Key findings

Recommendations from each case study are included in the full report

Recommendations

There are also a number of wider recommendations arising from this work:
• Sandboxes are an effective way to undertake investigative work exploring complex or novel topics in a collaborative way and at pace. It is recommended that this approach is considered for use by other safety regulators as well as HSE for topics such as reducing work-related ill health.
• Cross-regulatory issues were noted during the Sandbox, for example GDPR compliance, or access to regulatory expertise, data or information to improve compliance across regulatory areas in a particular sector. It is recommended that a review of the potential funding opportunities for a cross-regulator Sandbox to explore these issues is undertaken.
• There is a role for Government to play in helping to support, encourage and incentivise innovation adoption. This could be through financial initiatives, mandating the inclusion of innovative technologies on government projects, helping improve confidence in ROI through supporting field trials, and helping to foster a robust supply chain. It is recommended that a detailed examination of options is undertaken.