'Common sense' returns to health and safety

05 February 2013

Posted by Samuel Couratin

The government is restoring common sense to health and safety, according to two new reports.

This is expected to save businesses millions of pounds every year.

The first report, which was written by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, analyzed how well the suggestions he made in his 2011 'Reclaiming Health and Safety for all' report had been implemented.

In his new publication, Prof Lofstedt stated he was happy that many of his proposals to scale down the over-zealous approach to health and safety had been carried out.

He said: "I am pleased that the government is on track with the implementation of the recommendations of my report and is supporting a more risk and evidence-based approach to health and safety."

He added that this should help businesses to focus on growth rather than red tape.

The other report found that the government has taken action on 23 of the 35 suggestions made in Lord Young's 2010 'Common sense, Common Safety' report.

Lord Young had called for changes to alter the largely negative perception of health and safety and also requested new regulation to combat the growth of 'compensation culture'.

Minster for Employment, Mark Hoban praised the findings of the new reports.

He said: "Health and safety is important, but its focus should be where risks are high. These reports show just how much progress we have made in restoring clarity to the system."

He added that he will be working to ensure "common sense prevails" throughout the sector.

The Department for Work and Pensions claims that half of health and safety legislation will have been reviewed, scrapped or simplified by 2014.

It estimates that just one change to regulations on reporting accidents at work will save businesses £5 million over the next ten years.

Simplifying the rules on how often companies are required to test standard electrical equipment, such as kettles and computers, is expected to save as much as £30 million for businesses.

Mary Boughton, Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses' Health and Safety committee, also welcomed the news.

She said the changes will help employers to focus on real risks, rather than paperwork.

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