H&S consultation launched following Lofstedt report

Health & Safety update 30/11/2011

The government has announced that it is to launch a consultation into health and safety reform, following the publication of the independent Lofstedt report.

The report – which called for 19 changes to be made to the current health and safety set-up in the UK – has sparked the government to mull the abolition of some H&S rules.

The government is reportedly keen to abolish the first regulations within the next few months, alongside creating a 'challenge panel' for those firms who are unhappy with H&S rulings that have been made against them.

Currently, there are around 200 H&S regulations – which have been blamed for the cancellations of school trips and other low-risk activities. The government is said to be planning to reduce this number by 50 per cent over the next three years, in order to 'root out needless bureaucracy.'

The recommendations made by the Lofstedt report, which was carried out by the director of the Centre for Risk Management at King's College London, Professor Ragnar E Lofstedt, revealed that the issue lay with "the way the regulations are interpreted and applied" rather than the rules themselves.

The BBC reported that Professor Lofstedt said, "There are instances where regulations designed to address real risks are being extended to cover trivial ones."

Chris Grayling, employment minister, confirmed to the BBC that the government was going to accept the Lofstedt report's recommendations and aimed to "put common sense back at the heart of health and safety."

Some of the recommendations contained within the report included making self-employed people, who carry out work that poses no risk to anyone, exempt from H&S rules.

It also suggested that the Health and Safety Executive be given the power to direct all council-led H&S inspection and enforcement processes.

Following this news item we will have a more in-depth analysis of the Lofstedt report.

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