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October 14, 2013

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2013 – A year for change in health and safety

Claire Rizos

Some of the changes we’ve seen this year in the areas of health and safety legislation, and civil procedure have been some of the most significant of recent decades. They’ve included an amendment to the Health and Safety at Work Act, no less.  But I wonder which if any of these recent changes will stand out when we reflect back in say, 20 years time?

I became a health and safety advisor in 1996.  For me, the ‘stand out’ changes in my first 15 years were CDM 2007, the influence of ‘no win, no fee’, Corporate Manslaughter and perhaps the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 (which increased the penalties available for health and safety breaches).

There’s been so much change in the last couple of years that even those in the safety profession find it hard to keep up.  But despite the headline grabbing revocations and repeals, the HSE budget cut, the ‘myth busters’ panel and the introduction of various legislative changes, many of these will be quickly forgotten.

My ‘picks’ of the last year are:

The major assault on the personal injury claims sector so that available fees are substantially reduced for cases worth under £25,000 and with the basis of the ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement wiped out (the costs of after the event insurance, nor success fees can be reclaimed from the losing party).

  • The amendment of section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which removes the right of civil action, except where specifically allowed for within regulations, meaning that claimants will almost always haven to prove negligence and cannot rely on technical breaches of the regulations to gain compensation.
  • The substantial reduction in pro-active inspection within the local authority sector due to the National Local Authority Enforcement Code.
  • The establishment of ‘Fee for Intervention’.

These are the ones I think that will have a lasting impact and which 2013 will be remembered for. They have the power to change the way that businesses think about health and safety. But how will that change pan out? 

We currently have the lowest number of work related fatal accidents of all time. But as businesses feel less threatened by the possibility of inspection or being sued, what will be the outcome? 

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Claire Rizos
Claire Rizos
10 years ago

I know P Dant it came into effect in October 2012 but it only got its feet under the table in 2013 if you get my drift.

P Dant
P Dant
10 years ago

Technically, FFI was established in October 2012. . .