Professor Ragnar Lofstedt’s report “Reclaiming health and safety for all: an independent review of health and safety regulation” has confirmed that the “litigation society” that has developed and resulting burden on businesses is not caused by the law but by the way it is interpreted. However, while basic health and safety law is appropriate and should remain in place, some health and safety laws are no longer fit for purpose and need to be reviewed and streamlined or removed altogether.
The report pointed out that there are inconsistencies in enforcement of health and safety legislation. There should be a clearer focus for the Health and Safety Executive to address workplaces which present the highest risk. Where a business is working in a low risk environment and does not pose a risk to themselves or others, they should not be expected to shoulder the same burden of bureaucracy that a large high- risk company has to manage.
However, no matter how large your business or what sector you are working in, keeping peole safe when doing their job should be of prime importance. There is also a need for employee responsibility and a review of action involved in making a claim to address the “litigation culture”, as this is one of the main burdens on industry.
The Lofsted report recognises that there are issues to resolve in a number of different areas and identifies where changes are to be made. As these come into force, watch this space for further updates.