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H&S REVIEW LEAVES CONSTRUCTION UNTOUCHED

Report by Lord Young to focus on where risk is low and bureaucracy high 

In a speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham Lord Young of Graffham has declared that his review of health and safety runs “no risk of being pigeonholed”.

The final report will become government policy, approved by the Cabinet and the Prime Minister, who has asked the peer to stay on to see the changes through.

Construction industry not a target for change

The implications for construction appear minimal although action to restrict a ‘compensation cluture’ may have some impact on civil claims. The peer stated that “incitement to litigate must stop” although we must wait for his report how this is to be achieved.

Traditional higher risk industries are to excluded from any other major changes. Lord Young said:

“We have one of the best records in Europe for accidents and deaths in the workplace and nothing in my report will change that. So all the rules and regulations relating to construction, manufacturing, chemicals and nuclear industries, even farming are untouched.”

But when these quite sensible rules were applied everywhere, particularly where they make no sense, they quickly became a joke and “‘elf and safety” was born. My Review deals with non-hazardous activities where the risks are very low but the bureaucracy unbelievably high.

My review deals with offices, shops and classrooms where I have searched high and low for any trace of common sense.”

Other matters to be included in his report include outlawing ‘untrained consultants’, simplyfing school class outings and allowing the public to take risk without local authority interference e.g. traditional cheese rolling downhill race in Wiltshire.

Lord Young’s speech included the statement “If I want to take a risk it is up to me. It is nothing to do with the local authority.”

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