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    GOVERNMENT REVIEW OF UK HEALTH AND SAFETY LAW

    Have your say on H&S ‘burdens’ and simplifying the regulatory framework 

    In March 2011 Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced that risk management specialist Professor Ragnar E Löfstedt would chair a review of all healthand safety regulation, with a view to “simplifying the rules and easing the unnecessary burdens on business”.

    Mr Grayling said:

    “Professor Löfstedt’s review will play a vital part in putting common sense back at the heart of Britain’s health and safety system and I look forward to receiving his findings. By rooting out needless bureaucracy we can encourage businesses to prosper and boost our economy.”

    Terms of reference

    The review will consider the opportunities for “reducing the burden of health and safety legislation” on UK businesses whilst maintaining the progress made in improving health and safety outcomes.

    It will consider the scope for combining, simplifying or reducing the statutory instruments and the associated Approved Codes of Practice (ACoP) and will take into account:

    • the extent to which these regulations have led to positive health and safety outcomes and the extent to which they have created significant economic costs for businesses of all sizes;
    • whether the requirements of EU Directives are being unnecessarily enhanced (‘gold-plated’) when transposed into UK regulation; and
    • any evidence or examples of where health and safety regulations have led to unreasonable outcomes, or inappropriate litigation and compensation.

    It will also see if lessons can be learned from comparison with health and safety regimes in other countries and consider whether health and safety law suitably places responsibility on those that create risk. Professor Löfstedt will publish the results of the reviewe in the autumn 2011.

    Call for evidence

    Views are now invited from all interested parties by no later than 29th July 2011. Professor Ragnar Löfstedt said:

    “I hope to hear from as many people with an interest in health and safety regulation as possible. I want the review to be informed by concrete examples and evidence from a range of stakeholders including employer and employee organisations, Government and professional health and safety bodies, practitioners and academics. Getting their expert advice will ensure the findings of the review are robust and I hope they will take the opportunity to feed in their views.”

    Reponse is requested to the following specific questions:

    1. Are there any particular H&S regulations (or ACoPs) that have significantly improved health and safety and should not be changed?
    2. Are there any particular H&S (or ACoPs) which need to be simplified?
    3. Are there any particular H&S regulations (or ACoPs) which it would be helpful to merge together and why?
    4. Are there any particular H&S regulations (or ACoPs) that could be abolished without any negative effect on the health and safety of individuals?
    5. Are there any particular H&S regulations that have created significant additional burdens on business but that have had limited impact on health or safety?
    6. To what extent does the concept of ‘reasonably practicable’ help manage the burden of health and safety regulation?
    7. Are there any examples where H&S regulations have led to unreasonable outcomes, or to inappropriate litigation and compensation?
    8. Are there any lessons that can be learned from the way other EU countries have approached the regulation of health and safety, in terms of (a) their overall approach and (b) regulating for particular risks or hazards?
    9. Can you provide evidence that the requirements of EU Directives have or have not been unnecessarily enhanced (‘gold-plated’) when incorporated into UK health and safety regulation?
    10. Does health and safety law suitably place responsibility in an appropriate way on those that create risk? If not what changes would be required?
     
    Comment

    This review will evoke a feeling of deja vu amongst the sceptics. The review starts from the assumption that H&S regulations are a ‘burden’. However, other reviews since the 1980’s have tended to draw a response from business that H&S is the least of their worries. 

    For the more open minded this is perhaps the best opportunity for some time to have your say and influence the future pattern of H&S regulation. You pays your money…!

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