Lord Young of Graffham, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Health and Safety Law and Practice, today publishes his report "Common Sense, Common Safety", examining the country’s perceived compensation culture and the impact of health and safety regulations on businesses and personal freedom.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet have accepted all of the recommendations put forward by Lord Young, who will continue to work across departments to ensure his recommendations are carried through.
Common Sense, Common Safety puts forward a series of policies for improving the perception of health and safety, to ensure it is taken seriously by employers and the general public, while ensuring the burden on small business is as insignificant as possible. At the same time, Lord Young calls for restrictions on advertising for “no win, no fee” compensation claims and a revolution in the way personal injury claims are handled.
Lord Young also proposes a common sense approach to educational trips, which currently entail a plethora of forms to fill in, deterring teachers and others who work with children from arranging any trips at all. He recommends a single consent form covering all activities a child might undertake at school.
In order to ensure consistency and professionalism in implementing health and safety legislation, Lord Young has recommended that consultants who undertake workplace assessment should be professionally qualified and registered on an online database.
Responses to the Your Freedom website showed that Lord Young's recommendations echo public concerns about health and safety and the compensation culture. Contributions to the website also showed widespread misunderstandings about legislation in both areas. Lord Young's recommendations seek to clarify these misconceptions and free individuals, businesses and voluntary organisations from the climate of fear that they create.
Lord Young of Graffham said:
“For too long, health and safety has been allowed to become a joke in the media and among the public. It’s about time it was taken seriously. I believe that the best way to do this is to ease the burden in places where health and safety is not an issue, and to discourage the compensation culture that has spread fear of litigation throughout our society.
“I believe my recommendations will be an important step towards restoring civil liberties, shredding red tape and making sure that health and safety rules are properly applied and respected. I am grateful to the Prime Minister for asking me to undertake this important work, and I am pleased that he has accepted all of my suggestions.”
Department of Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling said:
"Lord Young’s review restores common sense to health and safety regulation and sets clear limits to what organisations and individuals need to do to manage risk.
"By reducing unnecessary red tape we can encourage businesses to come and invest in the UK, creating jobs and opportunities when we need them most."
- Simplify the process that schools and similar organisations undertake before taking children on trips.
- Introduce a single consent form that covers all activities a child may undertake during his or her time at a school.
- Introduce a simplified risk assessment for classrooms.
- Shift from a system of risk assessment to a system of risk–benefit assessment and consider reviewing the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to separate out play and leisure from workplace contexts.
- Abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority and replace licensing with a code of practice.
- There should be consultation with the insurance industry to ensure that worthwhile activities are not unnecessarily curtailed on health and safety grounds. Insurance companies should draw up a code of practice on health and safety for businesses and the voluntary sector.
Source: Cabinet Office