Speaking at the TUC Congress in Blackpool, Sharon Bains from the Safety Policy Directorate for the Health and Safety Executive, said: 'There are a lot of misconceptions about what the HSE can and cannot do.
'The health and safety law is primarily targeted at the employer and we need to know exactly where any intervention would make a difference.'
She added: 'Banning the use of mobile phones while driving, enforcing speed limits and those sorts of measures are not areas for the HSE. The HSE is best at looking internally at an organisation itself and seeing where our expertise can improve things. Under current HSE policy we do not enforce health and safety road risk policy. The police have always had primacy and the last thing we would want is to add to the problems.'
Bains claimed that the HSE's role was to operate in areas where there is a 'vacuum' in health and safety provision. She said she had been 'astonished and positively motivated' by the number of companies instigating road risk strategies, as they realise there is a strong economic savings for such actions.
She continued: 'The HSE did not make a bid for massive resources in terms of enforcement capability. We are not sure what needs doing and where.'
Earlier this year, the Health and Safety Commission, which oversees the work of the HSE, sent a letter to transport minister David Jamieson saying it 'could not accommodate any increase in demands to inspect employers' arrangements for managing occupational road risk … within the current resource limits.'
It said it would reconsider its involvement at a later date if it felt intervention was needed.