The results of the “Löfstedt Report” along with the Government Responses have now been published and the aim of reducing the health and safety burden on businesses is at the forefront of this report.
Some key recommendations include:
- Reducing the number of regulations – which we feel in principle can only be good;
- For the HSE to make the ACOP`s (Approved Codes Of Practice) easier to understand – again sounds good;
- Exempting from health and safety law those self employed whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others – here more details will be needed as we wonder just how this will be controlled. Imagine having a contractor (self employed one man band) coming to your site and telling the employer they are exempted from health and safety!!
- Legislation to be changed to give HSE the authority to direct all local authority health and safety inspection and enforcement activity – the principle of one set of inspectors under the HSE control may well face some barriers we feel.
These are only a few of the recommendations and they have been given target dates to implement these changes over the next 3 years with many of the changes planned for 2012. Clearly, the Government is keen to push ahead but it has stated not at the cost of risking lives or serious injury to people.
We hope that these changes will have a positive impact on the businesses we work with as we already work to a sensible and risk proportionate agenda which we feel is what the report is looking for. However we do have concerns that some businesses may see this as a relaxation of health and safety; which will give rise to even less focus on doing the right thing in these businesses.
It continues to amaze us how often we come across people and businesses who ignore health and safety until something goes wrong and then they look to either use it to get something done urgently (or get money). Why don`t they look to get it right before it goes wrong as it saves an awful lot of pain and stress – and money.