‘All’ health and safety laws under review

By politics.co.uk staff

All health and safety laws in the UK will be subject to a review, in a government bid to cut back ‘red tape’.

Any laws that put an “unnecessary” burden on business will be scrapped.

Employment minister Chris Grayling told a conference in London that Britain’s health and safety culture is “stifling business” and prohibiting 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,” he said.

“This will help us make Britain a more growth focused, entrepreneurial nation. 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.”

Britain’s health and safety rules have become a much-touted symbol of unnecessary bureaucracy over recent years.

Under the new strategy, responsible employers will no longer face automatic health and safety inspections, cutting the number of inspections in the UK by at least a third.
Instead, high risk locations, such as major energy sites or rogue employers, will be targeted.

There will be an approved list of health and safety consultants to stop “cowboy” consultants conducting inspections.

Unions said the health and safety cutbacks were an attack on workers’ rights.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said the plans would increase workplace deaths and injuries.

“Employers need to know that there is the possibility of a safety inspector visiting, otherwise there will be no incentive for them to ensure they are protecting their workers,” he said.

“Removing proactive inspections from a large number of workplaces mean that employers can get away with ignoring the law until they kill or seriously injure someone.”

Professor Ragnar E Lofstedt of King’s College London will chair the review, which will publish its findings this autumn.