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CONSERVATIVE PARTY PLANS FOR H&S

David Cameron outlines approach to H&S under a new administration

A speech by the Conservatice party leader has addressed what he describes as “a growing sense that too many areas of our life are governed by petty rules, regulations and tick box bureaucracy that flies in the face of common sense, undermines discretion and prevents us from getting on with our lives.”

The speech sets out a future Conservative government’s approach to the “great knot of rules, regulations, expectations and fears that I would call the over-the-top health and safety culture.”

Lord Young has been asked to lead an extensive review on the subject and “look at everything from the working of the HSE, to the nature of our health and safety laws, litigation and the insurance industry.

The review will ask for every piece of health and safety legislation whether it fulfils a useful purpose – “and if not, it must go.”

Comment: The speech deals primarily with issues at the margins of mainstream construction health and safety although it suggests that the formal review of CDM 2007 may attract more attention under a new administration.

The emphasis on greater “common sense in the way rules are applied” will strike a cord with many. 

Hints at greater openness may interest larger contractors. The speech refers to “going with the grain of human nature rather than using the blunt tools of regulation” and suggests that publishing openly the results of regulator inspections may be considered on the grounds that such transparency leads to an improvement in standards.

The speech follows recent conservative proposals for exemption from inspection.

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