IOSH to review plans to reduce health and safety regulation

A review of the Government’s planned “bonfire” of health and safety regulations has been launched by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The two-year review, by academics from the University of Nottingham, will explore whether or not reducing regulation will, as the Government has argued, help businesses to prosper and whether or not it can be done without harming the health and safety of employees.

Since coming to office in 2010, the coalition Government commissioned Lord Young to carry out a review of the health and safety culture, entitled Common sense, common safety. In addition, last year it commissioned the Löfstedt review, which called for the simplification of some regulation and a rethink around the concept of risk.

The IOSH study will assess how these and the Government’s response will affect the health and safety landscape, and occupational health and safety practitioners.

Research programme director professor Robert Dingwall said: “There is a serious concern that the flexibility created by a lighter touch from public agencies will actually be lost in an expansion of private rules from other interested parties, like insurance companies. This project will help to tell us what is happening on the ground.”

In a separate development, IOSH has urged the media, politicians, companies and health and safety professionals to “think long and hard about their perception of health and safety”.

IOSH president Subash Ludhra spoke at the IOSH “Changing Perceptions” conference on the subject in Manchester in March.

He said: “To those who tell us we can’t afford health and safety, as professionals we need to let them know they simply can’t afford to be without it.

“Health and safety is never seen as a joke when it’s there to protect our nearest and dearest. Together, if we can change the perceptions of employers, the media, politicians and the public, I’m confident that we will be stronger and safer than ever.”

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