A sane approach at last to health and safety The Lofstedt Review aimed at tackling needless rules and regulations would restore common sense to the workplace.
Philip Johnston writes.
We can never be totally safe. Most of us know this to be true and are suspicious of legislation that seeks to bring about such an impossible situation. And yet when something that could not be foreseen does happen, causing injury or mental harm, many people think of suing, often egged on by lawyers touting for business.
This compensation culture is blamed for the over-zealous application of health and safety laws designed to reduce the risk to life and limb in the workplace. Good intentions have morphed into hyper-regulation and suffocating bureaucracy. Laws that should be sensible, sane and proportionate are often unnecessary, hard to comply with and self-defeating. Those who have tried to get something done about this state of affairs over the years – usually owners of small businesses who find them onerous and expensive – have been howled down. Anyone who questions health and safety rules is caricatured as a modern-day Gradgrind, indifferent to his workers’ safety provided he turns a profit.
But these orthodoxies are, finally, being challenged. The publication yesterday of the Löfstedt Review into health and safety legislation marks the most determined effort yet to slash the red tape that has burgeoned in recent years. Chris Grayling, the employment minister, said he would implement the recommendations within weeks and start abolishing a substantial number of the 200 health and safety regulations. It is tempting to say we will believe it when we see it. Ever since John Major asked Michael “Tarzan” Heseltine to swing into action with his machete 20 years ago, successive governments have promised to reduce regulation but delivered little.
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Philip Johnston's article from the Telegraph