Launching the report findings this morning, employment minister Chris Grayling indicated that Professor Löfstedt’s recommendations will be widely accepted by the Government who are set to cut legislation by around a half. The changes will start to be implemented in January 2012.
Prof Löfstedt has submitted a raft of recommendations. He proposes that the one million people in the country who are self-employed be exempt from many of the health and safety rules that restrict their business operations. In the most radical overhaul of legislation to date, the Government is expected to cut regulation by almost a half.
As well as considering UK health and safety laws, the review re-examined EU legislation to ensure there is a sound justification for it, so that UK businesses are not being unnecessarily burdened compared to other member states. A fundamental message contained within the report is a call for the UK Government to act in collaboration with Europe to reduce the burden of red tape, working effectively together for the benefit of business.
The review looked into clarifying the legal position of employers in cases where employees act in a grossly irresponsible manner. Prof Löfstedt has called for strict liability to apply to all employers, so that where an employer has done everything possible to ensure the safety of employees, taking precautions and providing training, a business should not be liable for accidents.
Prof Löfstedt said: ‘I aimed to ensure the review was a balanced, proportionate, and evidence based assessment, with a wide consultation reach. 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.’
At today’s launch minister Chris Grayling said: ‘Prof Löfstedt’s report is an important step in the Government’s ongoing efforts to put common sense back into health and safety. But changing the health and safety culture for good will take a sustained effort from all of us – central and local government, enforcement agencies, the judiciary, insurers, consultants, employers and employees.’
Professor Löfstedt said: ‘The recommendations in my review have been informed by a wide range of sources and concrete examples from stakeholders. I have considered a large number of responses to a call for evidence, heard from a wide range of stakeholders including large and small employers, business organisations, trade associations, professional bodies, trades unions, academics, victim support groups, health and safety professionals, the legal and insurance industry and studied the available scientific literature.’
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is still the primary piece of health and safety law in the UK. New regulations, including those based upon EU Directives, are mostly made under this act.
Notes to editors:
The full report can be viewed at: www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/health-and-safety/#review
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