HEALTH & SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT (28 November 2011)
You can see the measures for each regulation by downloading the Health and Safety spreadsheet here
The Government has announced plans to begin a major cut back of health and safety red tape as early as January, following the publication of the Löfstedt Review into health and safety legislation on the 28 November. The full DWP press notice can be found here.
Professor Löfstedt’s report “Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety regulation” set out a number of risk and evidence-based recommendations that will reduce regulatory requirements on business where they do not lead to improved health and safety outcomes, and remove pressures on business to go beyond what the regulations require, enabling them to reclaim ownership of the management of health.
Comments on the Red Tape Challenge Health and Safety theme made up until 28 July were considered by Professor Löfstedt alongside responses to his call for evidence. The six priority areas in the Lofstedt Review where Government will take action are:
• Exempting from health and safety law those self-employed whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others (will benefit 1 million self-employed people when implemented).
• The Health & Safety Executive to review all its Approved Codes of Practice. Initial phase of the review to complete by June 2012 so businesses have certainty.
• The HSE to undertake a programme of sector-specific consolidations to be completed by the end of 2014 (including sectors such as Mining).
• Giving HSE the authority to direct all local authority health and safety inspection and enforcement activity, to ensure that it is consistent and targeted towards the most risky workplaces.
• Clarifying and restating the original intention of the pre-action protocol standard disclosure list and changing regulatory provisions that impose strict liability, to ensure that employers are not held responsible for damages when they have done all they can to manage risks.
• The Government to work more closely with the EU Commission and others to ensure that both new and existing EU health and safety legislation is risk-based and evidence-based.
Health & Safety was in the Red Tape Challenge website spotlight between 30 June and 21 July – and has received over 1200 comments to date. The Government has accepted the recommendations made in the Review, and has committed to using the Red Tape Challenge process to go further. Comments made after 28 July on the Health & Safety theme are being considered by the Health and Safety Executive as part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to regulatory reform.
Professor Löfstedt’s report is a significant step towards keeping our workplaces safe whilst freeing businesses from red tape and reclaiming the reputation of health and safety that has been so damaged by the excesses of the compensation culture.
Professor Löfstedt said: “When the Minister invited me to conduct this review I was determined that it should be science-based, evidence-based and risk-based. My guiding principle is that regulation should also be founded on robust evidence and an assessment of the real risks. All the discussions I had and the evidence I have received over the past few months have served to reinforce this view.”
Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said: “From the beginning we said getting the regulation of health and safety right is important to everyone. By accepting the recommendations of Professor Löfstedt we are putting common sense back at the heart of health and safety. Our reforms will root out needless bureaucracy and be a significant boost to the million self employed people who will be moved out of health and safety regulation altogether. We will also ensure our reforms put an emphasis on personal responsibility. It cannot be right that employers are responsible for damages when they have done all they can to manage the risk. Fundamentally we will ensure the health and safety system is fit for purpose through streamlining the maze of regulations and ensuring consistency across the board.”
Judith Hackitt, the Chair of HSE, said: “Professor Löfstedt’s insightful report will go a long way to refocusing health and safety in Great Britain on those things that matter – supporting those who want to do the right thing and reducing rates of work-related death, injury and ill health. We must have a system of health and safety which enables employers to make sensible and proportionate decisions about managing genuine workplace risks. Simplifying and streamlining the stock of regulations, focusing enforcement on higher risk businesses, clarifying requirements, and rebalancing the civil litigation system – these are all practical, positive steps. Poor regulation – that which adds unnecessary bureaucracy with no real benefits – drives out confidence in good regulation. We welcome these reforms because they are good for workers and employers but also for the significant contribution they will make to restoring the rightful reputation of real health and safety.”
The Health & Safety Red Tape Challenge comment page can be found here.
The DWP Press Notice is here.
Details on the Löfstedt Report can be found here.
More information on how the Red Tape Challenge works is available here.