The Government has accepted all the recommendations made in the recent review of health and safety regulation, ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’, and announced a package of measures designed to support its growth agenda and to ease the regulatory burden on business. The reforms, which are outlined in a framework document entitled ‘Good Health and Safety, Good for Everyone’, will be spearheaded by Employment Minister Chris Grayling and include the following:
- Responsible employers will no longer face automatic health and safety inspections. Instead, health and safety inspectors are being instructed to concentrate their efforts on high-risk locations, such as major energy facilities, and on rogue employers who are putting the safety of their staff and the public at risk. This measure will cut the number of inspections carried out in the UK by at least a third. Rogue employers who endanger public and employee safety will also have to pay the costs of the investigation into their activities;
- A voluntary Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) has been established to enable businesses who wish to use a health and safety consultant to choose from a list of practitioners accredited to one of the professional bodies in the industry. This step is aimed at eliminating unqualified ‘cowboy’ health and safety consultants;
- A review of all existing health and safety law will be carried out with a view to scrapping regulations that are not needed and which put an unnecessary burden on business. The findings of the review will be published in the autumn; and
- A new online package, ‘Health and Safety Made Simple’, has been launched by the Health and Safety Executive. This will enable small and low-risk employers to find all the advice they require in one place in order to achieve a basic and bureaucracy-free level of health and safety management in their workplaces.
Commenting on the reforms, Mr Grayling said, “Of course it is right to protect employees in the workplace, but Britain’s health and safety culture is also stifling business and holding back economic growth. The purpose of health and safety regulation is to protect people at work and rightly so. But we need common sense at the heart of the system, and these measures will help root out the needless burden of bureaucracy.”