Government sets goals for health and safety review

The full scope of the Government’s Löfstedt review into health and safety red tape has finally been revealed.

The review, which is expected to report this autumn, is being led by Professor Ragnar E Löfstedt, who is professor of risk management and director of the King’s Centre for Risk Management at King’s College London.

The Government has set out an ambition to review all health and safety regulation, with a view to simplifying the rules and easing the unnecessary burdens on business.

To this end, the Löfstedt review is looking at:

  • the scope for consolidating, simplifying or abolishing regulations;
  • whether or not the requirements of EU Directives are being unnecessarily enhanced (“gold-plated”) on translation into UK law;
  • if lessons can be learned from comparison with health and safety regimes in other countries;
  • whether or not there is a clear link between regulation and positive health and safety outcomes;
  • if there is evidence of inappropriate litigation and compensation arising from health and safety legislation; and
  • whether or not changes to legislation are needed to clarify the legal position of employers in cases where employees act in an irresponsible manner.

The full terms of reference can be viewed on the Department for Work and Pensions website.

At the same time, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has warned the Government to ensure that its austerity measures and crackdown on red tape do not damage people’s health or lead to accidents.

In a survey published in May 2011, IOSH concluded that UK businesses risk losing their competitive edge because of a failure to tackle the risks of injury and illness in the workplace.

Employers were underestimating the economic benefits of worker protection and placing it low on their list of priorities.

IOSH also launched a new campaign called “Life Savings“, with the aim to “set the record straight” on occupational safety and health.

Rather than a burden on business, good, proportionate health and safety is being used by forward-thinking CEOs and managing directors as a driver for growth, it added.

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